On New Year’s Eve as we ate dinner I asked my family, “What do you think has been the biggest local story in 2020?” I allowed as how outside forces (COVID, national politics) have had a major influence but that I was specifically looking for a Columbia/HoCo story.
In what is not always the case (see many examples of “Uh, I don’t know” or silent eye roll) we had an excellent conversation which I would like to share with you here. Except there’s only three of us which means there’s no way I can relay it without compromising someone’s privacy. That counts even with your family. Well, the way local social media has become, it matters even more with your family.
So let’s do this another way.
We ended up talking about photographs.
The first shows an enormous gathering in Downtown Columbia organized by HoCo4Justice to protest the killing of George Floyd and so many Black and Brown people across the country at the hands of police. The second shows a far smaller group assembled to protest the closing of businesses during a pandemic.
And that’s the big story of 2020.
It was probably the big story of 2019 too, we just didn’t know it yet.
I say that because issues of race continue to be a huge challenge for us here and they certainly didn’t start in 2020. And their companion, the self-centering white privilege that wields affluence like a weapon has been right there along with it.
It’s not going away anytime soon. Other local new stories will be featured in the paper but this? This is our story until we deal with it.