As 2020 comes to a close, we asked our Youth Advisory Board to reflect on this historic year of pop culture, pandemic, protest, and performance. Here’s what they had to say…
On a scale of 1-10–1 being the worst year ever and 10 being the best–how was your 2020?
Rhea rates this year a 5.
“It was my first year at a new school, which was really exciting, so I was definitely happy to have made that switch, but then my year got cut short because of the pandemic. I really did not like remote learning last spring and it was difficult to not be able to see my friends for a couple months. However, being stuck at home brought me a lot closer to my family, so I am thankful that something good came out of being locked inside!”
For Amaiya, this year was a 10.
“I’ve been doing so much inner shadow work and growth that I wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise. I’ve learned so many valuable skills and lessons that this year doesn’t seem bad at all to me. All the people in my little corner of the world have been safe and healthy, I’ve been sheltered, fed, and prosperous in my own ways too.”
YAB Lead, Angela, gives 2020 a 5.
“2020 has definitely been a rollercoaster for me. Political tension, the pandemic hitting our country, and racial uprisings were only a few essentials to highlight this year. Many of these events changed my own physical health and mental well-being. Yet, through all of the hardships that I endured this year, I deepened my understanding of myself and my relationships, and have given my passions a closer look.”
Hayden says that this year was a 4.
“There were definitely a lot of negatives about this year; however, I also experienced quite a few positives. I became very close with people who I originally barely talked to, with one becoming my best friend. I also found the time helpful because I was able to step back and breathe. However, it was also stressful because of the pandemic and how many have died. Although this year has been horrible in so many ways, I’m the kind of person who looks for the positive in a situation. COVID has helped us all to connect and learn how important we all are to each other.”
Priscilla rates 2020 a 6.
“The coronavirus pandemic really made life stressful in general, but I actually prefer online school so distance learning wasn’t too hard for me. George Floyd’s murder and its effect on society really made me sad that some people still think police brutality isn’t a thing. The fact that Trump was the president for 2020 also made the year worse, because every day I read another piece of news about a comment he made or someone’s rights he took away, and it’s just really disappointing that he’s the president of this country. The election also caused me a lot of stress, but I’m happy with the outcome.”
Media plays a big role in inspiring and uplifting us, especially when we oftentimes can’t leave the house when we want to. So, what was a media highlight from 2020?
“Taylor Swift’s new album, Folklore, and her movie about the album were very special to me. Also, the move adaptations of Little Women and Emma were both movies that have become some of my favorites.” – Zoe
“I loved the TikTok trend that has come up as of late of people writing Ratatouille the Musical. It brings me a lot of joy.” – Ella
“One social media highlight this year was when all of these teenagers and young adults were speaking their minds on the Black Lives Matter movement as it arose once again. This was a highlight for me in my life because myself and my peers were displaying and spreading awareness on our beliefs which was empowering, creating another movement within itself. This led to media confidence and young girls and boys using their platforms to spread awareness on what they believed in, which was pretty beautiful to see.” – Mila
“I loved the “Soulmate” by Lizzo music video! It is so fun and empowering and it really speaks on self-love, no matter what. It also features the Queer Eye Fab 5, which is wonderful! The music video is an animation and I love the style.” – Ria
“One music video/song highlight was Lizzo’s “Soulmate” lyric video, in which she encouraged independence, confidence and self-love, specifically among women and girls. While I’m not personally a football fan, it was also exciting to witness Sarah Fuller as the first woman to play in a Power 5 game, and to see two Latinx women, Shakira and J. Lo, owning the Superbowl halftime show, the stage glowing in the shape of the “woman” symbol, with an awe-inspiring appearance from J. Lo’s 11-year-old daughter! Plus, I’m excited for the upcoming release of Wonder Woman 1984.” – Clara
“One social media highlight for me was that TikTok got more popular. I hadn’t had any social media really until COVID but I feel like TikTok made me realize there were other people in the world who think the same way I do, have a similar body type, and like the same things. I feel like TikTok created a community for lots of teens around the world.” – Adyra
On the flip side, media can be really cringy, upsetting, and awful. And, it’s even harder to avoid the worst of media when we have to be online all day. What were some of the most notable media lows of 2020?
“One part of media this year that didn’t help anyone was when some people were posting racist, sexist, and homophobic media on Instagram just for attention. This occurred after the BLM protests and, although it’s been an issue for a while, it definitely added on to the stress of 2020.” – Nicole
“Perez Hilton’s TikToks that went viral during quarantine are extremely creepy. [Perez Hilton has recently been banned from TikTok.]” – Megan
“One cringe-worthy social media moment this year that I felt didn’t uplift girls and women was in the new Borat movie that was recently released. It was extremely degrading and creepy to watch a politician, Rudy Giuliani, openly flirt with the girl posing as a news reporter, and then proceed to go into a bedroom with her. It exposed some serious issues regarding what some of our politicians and representatives consider the value of women in the work-place behind the scenes – I literally cringed.” – Rhea
“Videos on TikTok that show how boys make jokes about women that are sexist, for example calling girls “dishwasher” or saying “make me a sandwich” is really upsetting to see as I feel it shows how, in some ways, society is not evolving in the way it should because some people still don’t believe in everyone being equal.” – Priscilla
2020 had something to teach each and every one of us. What is one way that you grew this year?
“Over the course of 2020, I believe I’ve become a lot more grateful. Grateful for family, grateful for health, grateful for access to remote education, housing, economic stability — grateful for everything.” – Clara
“My confidence has grown a lot and I feel a lot more comfortable wearing what I want and asking when I need help or just asking for anything in general.” – Aanya
“I’ve learned a lot about racism this year. If there’s anything the media has helped me with, it’s understanding new social justice concepts.” – Charlotte
“I have become much more appreciative of what I have in 2020.” – Addison
“2020 has helped me learn to be patient. Patience, Patience, Patience! This is the one thing that has kept me sane because I realized early on in this year that we are all learning new things together. Without listening or taking a deep breath you will achieve nothing because this year has and was filled with so many unknowns. Patience has helped me grow because it made me set aside time to reflect on everything that was going on in my surroundings, leading me to view things differently and understand others more.” – Mila
Thank you to the incredible young people on our Youth Advisory Board for making our 2020 a little bit brighter!