‘Twas The Year That Was – Good and Bad


As it is with every year, 2021 had its ups and downs.

Sadly, the day after Christians celebrated Christmas, news of the passing of South African reconciliation negotiator Bishop Desmond Tutu jolted spirited activities of the season.

Diasporans from the English speaking Caribbean celebrate Boxing Day with extended fervor of holiday revelry however, the British tradition has its origins with a custom of feeding the poor.

Bishop Tutu dedicated his life to advocating for the poor.

The day is also significant in the Black community and has been since 1966 when Dr. Maulanga Karenga introduced Kwanzaa and seven principles he named the Nguzo Saba. The California-based cultural activist offered a week’s worth of holistic, cultural practices that he envisioned would enhance the lives of African-Americans. 

Bishop Tutu died on the first day of Kwanza, when the first principle of Umoja should exercise unity.

Deaths seem to resonate heavily at the beginning and end of each year. 

Six days into the new year, an insurrection at the Capitol tested the vulnerability of the nation’s security. When a shot rang out killing one of the insurrectionist, the year started with a bang. 

Played out in real time on television, the bad and evil stared realization of the fragility of the system and also signaled to some prediction of the future.

Later that same month a transition of government provided hope to some but change for all.

At the end of the month news of the passing of actress Cicely Tyson started the inevitable roll call of death notes for the year. The celebrated, age-defying actress died last January at age 96. 

Throughout the 12 months, tears welled for many more departed souls.

Still, 2021 and any other year should not be defined by deaths, there were plenty happy moments to recall: particularly those related to women.

Kamala Harris blazed the highest trail for the gender when she accepted the oath of the vice presidential office of the United States. 

Jamaica-born Sandra Lindsay was invited to the presidential inauguration celebration one month after making history for taking the first vaccine to thwart COVID-19.

The Olympics shone a spotlight on a myriad of conquerors representing countries throughout the world. Among the stars, Japanese/Haitian tennis champion Naomi Osaka, Allyson Felix of the USA, gymnast Simone Byles and track stars from Africa.

Jamaica’s indomitable rule prevailed in 2021 in the 100 metres sprint race. A triumvirate from the island ran away with gold, silver and bronze and have not stopped running and winning since.

More good news came in September with vaccine boosters that allegedly lessened hospitalization and deaths from the coronavirus.

Sandra Mason made history in her homeland Barbados when she was elected the first president of the island/nation. 

With her election, the island established a reputation for being a beacon in the Caribbean. Last month Barbados became a Republic.

Their Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley also claimed a huge chunk of the region’s glow by shining a light on the plight of the climate.

In Scotland, she did not mince words scolding leaders of developed nations who she accused of talking loud and saying nothing tangible about the declining global phenomenon. Mottley’s revelation at the United Nations also exposed hypocritical platitudes from some of the same leaders from developed countries who have hoarded vaccines against covid-19 etc.

Five women were deputized by the city’s elected Black mayor. Voted the 110th city leader, Eric Adams made an unprecedented decision naming Keechant Sewell the first female NYPD commissioner.

Justice seem to regularly elude the Black population but it was cause célèbre for two families who heard guilty verdicts rendered after jurors convicted white shooters of killing Black men. The conviction of a veteran Minnesota cop who bawled remorse during her trial sent shock-waves through the populous convinced she might be acquitted for mistakenly firing a deadly bullet into Daunte Wright. 

Her defense was that in her professional capacity as peace officer, she reached for a tazer, not the weapon.

And hope sprung after a jury convicted three Georgia racists who chased and killed Ahmaud Arbery whose only crime was being a Black jogger.

On a lighter note, some empathized with the romantic reunion of actor Ben Afleck and singer/actress Jeniffer Lopez.  The Hollywood couple seemed to dominate social and news media throughout the year, replacing Britain’s Prince Harry and his American bride Megan on ‘breaking news’ features.

The blanket of snow that fell on Christmas Eve seemed to cast a calming spread of peace through the dawn of the celebratory day.

‘Twas the night before Christmas in the year that was.

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