2020 was a year I never expected but am thankful for at the same time. I found my primary source of hope: God. He has gifted me with the experience of YouthRoots, where fellow teenagers understand the losses of last year. From youth who may have lost someone due to COVID-19, to high schoolers who missed out on life-lasting experiences, we understand each other and come together amidst these circumstances. It’s so easy to dwell in this negative place, but the power of unity prevalent in YouthRoots has emphasized how change is still being made.
The last year was abrupt for everyone. Adults, in their positions of power, were able to pave the way to fixing things. On the other hand, youth had to roll with the tide as school transitioned to an online setting and isolation from friends became a reality. Between the disruption of students’ educational and personal development and the effects the Black community has had to endure from the ever-present racism in the US, hopelessness seemed inevitable. Every day felt the same, with no answers about the future – and an acknowledgment that feeling hopeless was 100% okay.
As progress is being made, a spirit of optimism has inhabited us all. I see this spirit every time I open the Instagram app and see people raising awareness of issues I didn’t even know about. I see this spirit in my school’s newspaper staff, which is filled with diligent writers who aren’t afraid to inform the community about the truth. I see this spirit within my YouthBoard, who makes it to meetings each week to do more work towards change while adjusting to the shifting of our entire world. This drive that exists within my fellow teens gives me hope. We have the world in our hands, and YouthRoots has provided the space and resources to harbor this for good.