Whether you believe the year 2020 marks the end or the beginning of a decade the one thing that is certain, January 1, 2020 is the day people will celebrate and welcome a new year.
Most look to the new year with a combination of hope and optimism. Some set goals with lofty intentions and some, even manage to achieve them.
2020 will be another year filled with holiday parties, birthday celebrations, births, weddings and in some instances, loss. Between these celebrations, family obligations, job duties and civic responsibilities, most of us are already dancing as fast as we can; and many suspect that in the coming year we will probably be called upon to dance even faster.
2020 promises to be another year filled with both challenges and opportunities. Beyond the joys and sometimes stresses of family and friends and the navigation of community concerns, somewhere in the back of our minds many will also stay tuned to the expanding impacts of climate change. This is especially true in California with the never-ending cycle of catastrophic wildfires followed by destructive mudslides that continue to exact a devastating toll in human lives and property.
Californians like others in the nation will also keep a watchful eye on the economy, warily acknowledging that the economic growth experienced in recent years cannot/will not last forever. The question is, will it turn in 2020? And, if so, are we prepared to weather the storm?
On the other hand, we are reminded however, that everyone has not reaped the benefits of the nation’s prosperous economy. We don’t have to venture far in any direction to see the growing number of homeless who remind us we are failing in our responsibility to be “our brother’s keeper.” Of course, the growing number of homeless in the state is also partly attributed to California’s housing crisis and the urgent need for a creative and immediate solution to this problem.
Beyond these concerns, we look forward with genuine enthusiasm to being thrilled by young athletes who will gather from all over and meet in Tokyo, Japan for the honor of representing their countries as they compete against one another to be the best in the world in their various sports during the 2020 Summer Olympics.
2020 will also challenge Californians and Americans at large with the raucous and rancorous political competition promised to continue during the coming 2020 General Election when the nation will decide whether to toss out the most divisive president in the nation’s history or buckle up and hold on for another tumultuous four-year term. Provided, of course, the now impeached president is not thrown out of office before the election on November 3, 2020.
With all of this in mind, one of the most important issues the nation will grapple with in 2020 is the Decennial Census. So much of our lives as citizens is contingent on a full, accurate and complete count of everyone in America—regardless of one’s immigration status. Notices and forms will start arriving in March 2020 and the process is scheduled to complete at the end of July. This will be the first time in the nation’s history many respondents will be able to participate online.
Historically, underserved communities—particularly communities of color are undercounted for any number of reasons. This must change in 2020. Each of us must assure we are counted, our family and friends are counted, our co-workers and neighbors are counted. We must not allow our fears to be a barrier to census participation.
Each of us counts and must be counted because our participation will make a difference to our community. When we are not counted, we rob our communities of coveted dollars for much needed community-based programs and services. This includes such things as education, housing and community development, health care for the elderly, job training and the list goes on.
The importance of the census does not end there. Seats for the U.S. House of Representatives are allocated based on the census count. If we are not counted, if we are afraid to participate in the census, our representation at the national level could be at risk during a time when our voices must be raised louder than ever before.
Despite the challenges that lie ahead in the coming year, I turn my eyes toward 2020 with the same hope and optimism I’ve greeted every New Year since I reached the age of awareness. There is something about new beginnings that fills me with hope for better days.
Thank you for supporting Keeping it Real during 2019 and I want to take this opportunity to wish you all a very Happy New Year!