2020, the Year Lost in Time
It’s been almost one year since the first lockdowns began, and it still feels like we are floating, as if someone pressed pause on our lives.
The day before the shutdown, like many of you, we were going about our normal business -- scheduling dinners with friends, smiling at the barista behind the coffee counter, hugging our loved ones when we saw them. Now, even the idea of being in close proximity to a stranger scares us.
To try to summarize 2020 into a few words or sentences is impractical.
We started this year feeling like the world was on fire. Nearly three billion animals were killed or displaced during the Australian bushfire - burning over 72,000 square miles. We experienced the fever dream documentary that was Netflix’s Tiger King, then rolled our eyes as Carol Baskin danced her way to Eye of the Tiger on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars.
Activism doesn’t stop with an election, true friendship doesn’t stop because of lockdowns, our stories will continue to evolve for the betterment of society regardless of the circumstances.
We lost our dear “Black Mamba.” Kobe Bryant wasn’t just an athlete who played a game, he was someone who inspired generations of sports fans both on and off the court. From tossing a paper ball into a trash can and shouting his name, seeing him embrace the role of ‘girl dad,’ to becoming an Oscar-winning filmmaker -- Bryant was otherworldly in both memory and spirit.
Then, for a brief moment, World War III memes trended around the world as tensions between the United States and Iran increased.
We lost Rep. John Lewis whose public service in Congress and heroic strides during Bloody Sunday inspired us to stir “good trouble.”
The west coast of the United States began to burn in a cycle of devastating wildfires. Tragedies, heartbreak, and an aching stillness seemed to defy the year.
The battle against police brutality heightened as the death of George Floyd sparked protests across the globe. The unjust deaths of Breonna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks, Daniel Prude and so many more ignited not just a local, or national movement but one that challenged white supremacy on a global scale.
The innocent lives of those mentioned above became a catalyst for change in a movement that yearns to prevent the evils of our past. The phrase, “I can’t breathe,” continues to shake our spirits as we continue to work to dismantle white supremacists, their organizations, and the policies that favor them.
The protests of the summer urged American city officials to take down Confederate monuments. After years of activism, these testaments to white supremacy had no place in our society.
While it seems like fate was beating at our spirits, there were some bright spots that followed us.
Women leaders got the job done. We elected Kamala Harris, the first-ever female and person of color as the Vice President of the United States of America. Stacey Abrams led a massive grassroots movement that led to the largest voter turnout rate in Georgia’s history. Through Abrams and her team’s effort to fight voter suppression, the country saw Georgia turn blue.
And although a deadly pandemic is hardly the best way to reduce humanity's climate change-causing output of CO2; emissions fell by a record seven percent.
We explored pandemic hobbies, picking up everything from watercolor to embroidery, diving into dusty piles of books we hadn’t had the time to read beforehand. Solitude allowed us to find our inner self, to rediscover pieces of life that we had once enjoyed that had fallen by the wayside.
We connected to one another through TikTok in an unparalleled way. Yes, all of us now belonged to Zoom University, but this was also the year we all became Heathers, the main character, and were definitely the pretty best friend. TikTok trends such as Say So by Dajo Cat, Renegade by K Camp taught us to let loose, to embrace our free spirit when the world around us seemed to crumble.
2021 will not be known as the year we recovered from 2020. It will be known as the year we continued to take charge, and inspire change within ourselves and our community.
As we step into the new year, Camellias will carry the wise words of our beloved Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, “real change, enduring change, happens one step at a time.”
Activism doesn’t stop with an election, true friendship doesn’t stop because of lockdowns, our stories will continue to evolve for the betterment of society regardless of the circumstances. We’ll continue to carry the spirit of those we’ve lost with us, and we’ll make sure that their memory continues to inspire the next generation, and all of the ones after that.
Happy New Year dear reader, pour yourself a glass of champagne (or punch!) and celebrate yourself. Despite all of the odds, all of the fire and fury and darkness this world put in your way this year, you made it, and we’re glad you’re here. See you in 2021, we can’t wait to see where this year takes us.
Warm wishes to you in the new year,
Taylor Stewart, Editor-in- Chief
Sufia Alam, Lead Editor
How was 2020 for you? What do you look forward in 2021? Let us know in the comment section below or by shooting us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org