Sparklers during New Year's Eve.

The first blog post of the year is written by Lavonne Hood, Queen’s University Ombudsperson. In her piece, Lavonne reflects on the impacts of 2020 and shares her hopes for 2021.

As the seconds ticked down to midnight on December 31st, there was the usual sense of excitement and celebration for the new year. But this time felt a bit different. When 2021 arrived, it felt as if we took a collective sigh of relief after finally turning the page on the last year.

2020 was a year that few could have predicted, and one we won’t soon forget. From social justice issues regarding police brutality against Black and Indigenous people to the coronavirus pandemic, 2020 was full of challenges. Yet through it all, what it taught us was the ability of the human spirit to adapt to change and reminded us of our resiliency.

Resiliency. When things get tough and obstacles appear in our way, trip us up, maybe even knock us down, how are we able to pick ourselves up time and time again? This requires an inner strength that we often don’t even know exists until we must call upon it. Often we are stronger than we think.

With the new year comes a feeling of hope and a look toward the year ahead with optimism. 2021 is an opportunity for us to reflect on the past year while acknowledging that we have overcome a lot. We should be filled with tremendous pride for all that we have achieved. However, the challenges of 2020 will not magically disappear now that it is 2021 and there is still much to do. But there is hope, and so we persevere.

At Queen’s, the BIPOC community has had to come together like never before. With the challenge of working and studying remotely, we may be apart physically, but it is our shared experiences that unite us and bring us closer. As I think about 2021 and the year ahead, I am inspired by the courage of BIPOC faculty, staff, and especially students, to speak out about their experiences of racism this past year. It is this courage – this strength – that we will use to feed the resilient spirit that is foundational for the BIPOC community’s ability to overcome repeated injustices.

Standing on the shoulders of our ancestors and those who came before us, we are pushed forward and forever hold the hope in our hearts that tomorrow will be brighter than the yesterdays of the past. It is this hope that I hold on to every day, and it is my hope for all of us as we stand at the dawn of 2021.

Happy New Year!

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