I thought that would grab your attention. 2020 was, as they say, a dumpster fire. Like most, if not all of you, I and my family began physically/socially distancing in order to minimize the spread of Covid-19 almost one year ago. It was challenging and depressing being physically isolated from extended family, friends, co-workers, and normal in-person interactions. Generally speaking, I would consider myself an introvert and don’t mind being by myself. Going on a fishing trip or spending a few nights on a solo in the wilderness renews me. With that said, I would not associate the word "renew" with 2020! Isolating for such a long period of time didn’t feel rejuvenating to me at all.
It wasn’t just the isolation that was tough for me. It was also the many horrific events that happened last year. Reading and watching story after story of tragedy, injustice, discord, and sadness weighed heavily on me. The racial injustice that unbelievably continues in 2020 and the horrific events that highlighted this was prevalent in the news, as it should have been. Political polarization within our society at large was prominent among the headlines, not to mention within my own extended family. The combination of being isolated and all of this intensity going on in the world was emotionally exhausting and all-consuming. There was so much to grieve.
When we started Evoke, my partners and I committed to making self-care a priority. To support all our employees in doing so as well as to personally role model it. Recently while I was going down one of my news rabbit holes, I recalled how important the need for self-care was. In that moment, I turned off the news and started to pull up stories that I had read during 2020. These were stories of bravery, encouragement, positivity, and love. Part of self-care and being kind to yourself is to try to find positivity in your life and the world around you. I was rejuvenated by reading about all of the amazing individuals who impacted our society in positive ways.
This is by no means a comprehensive list of some of the incredible and encouraging events and stories of 2020. Keep reading--it’s Good News and it’s worth it!
Positive News from around the world
- People from more than 60 countries came out to protest racial injustice.
- Coronavirus vaccine became the fastest vaccine ever developed.
- Appreciation of healthcare workers from around the world.
- Africa was declared free of polio.
- College Hunks moving company provided over 100 free moves for victims of domestic violence in the U.S. and Canada.
- Printed book purchases were up by 8% in 2020. This includes the self-motivated education regarding systemic racism making books like Robin DiAngelo's "White Fragility" and Ibram X. Kendi's "How to Be an Antiracist" become best-selling books.
- Balcony concerts.
- Unprecedented American voter turnout, greater than we have seen since the 1960s.
- Space exploration advances including that NASA’s SOFIA Discovers Water on Sunlit Surface of the Moon.
- At least 12 significant cancer research breakthroughs were made in 2020.
- Global greenhouse gas emissions fell by roughly 2.4 billion tons in 2020. The picture on the left is 1998 Los Angeles in contrast to Los Angeles in March 2020 on the right.
- Gender equality gains. From banning FGM, to free period products, to elected government positions around the world.
- Up to 48 bird and mammal species have been saved from extinction by international conservation efforts since 1993.
- Africa’s Great Green Wall received $14 billion in additional funding for the next 10 years.
- Portugal has successfully reduced overdose deaths by more than 90% since 1999 as a result of a radical shift in its drugs policy.
Some 2020 Heroes and Firsts
- Kamala Harris- The first of so many. First woman vice president, first Black vice president, first Black woman vice president, first South Asian American vice president, first South Asian American woman vice president.
- Gitanjali Rao- The first ever TIME magazine Kid of the Year.
- Victor J. Glover Jr.- First Black astronaut to live on the International Space Station.
- Jeanette Epps- Appointed to 2021 crew making her the first Black woman astronaut to live on the International Space Station.
- Kamal Singh- The first Indian ballet dancer to be chosen to attend the prestigious English National Ballet School in London.
- Neil Heritage- A veteran becomes the first above-the-knee amputee to climb the Matterhorn.
- Time’s Heroes of 2020
- CNN’s Heroes of 2020
- Fox News 2020 Heroes
- Fortune’s World’s 25 Greatest Leaders: Heroes of the pandemic
And there are thousands more of unsung heroes with stories like these...
“One good turn deserves another,”
This 12-year-old girl gave her birthday money to a homeless man who found and returned her grandmother’s wallet.
“I just did what any good human would do”
The undocumented Senegalese street seller named Gorgui Lamine Sow who scaled a wall and climbed into a burning building in Denia, Spain to save a disabled man.
Keeping Americans fed
Chef José Andrés, on a mission to feed the world with his non-profit, World Central Kitchen has been addressing hunger in America. In addition to directly providing food services, Andrés pays local restaurants to prepare hot meals for the hungry.
“I’m gonna donate them all and put a smile on a little girl’s face.”
The man who decided to donate his complete baseball card collection of over 25,000 cards to Reese, a nine-year-old who lost her home and her “precious” baseball card collection in a California wildfire.
Four hours in the “worst conditions” at sea
A British Seaman, David Groves, spent more than four hours in the dark night at sea rescuing every man from a burning merchant ship through brutal sea conditions with 18-foot swells.
There are so many inspiring stories that are often drowned out by the negative. This is not to say we should only seek out positive stories. We all need to remain informed and engaged, which also includes uplifting stories. Do you have a favorite positive news story from 2020? I am certain I am not the only one who would love to hear them. Find something positive and share it with others, or consider a small act of service, a friendly wave or smile, or a phone call to an old friend or family member. Take the time to find and share a little positivity and you’ll find it influences you just as much as others.