BridgeDetroit reporter Olivia Lewis pens a letter to the year 2021.

Dear 2021, 

This was supposed to be a year of self-care and healing. Instead, we’ve had a yo-yo of a year that has been both exhausting and energizing. You did not understand the assignment. 

We saw just how divided America continues to be from the insurrection at the Capitol to the inauguration of the first Black woman vice president of the United States in January. Detroit voters played a huge role in cementing a Biden-Harris victory, but it’s unlikely that Michigan voters will have a strong voice moving forward. Now, what was supposed to be a citizen-led redistricting process has become secretive and rather complicated. 

Related: In 2020, Detroiters advocated for change, regardless of the consequences

Detroit was recognized for its coronavirus vaccination efforts, but the threat of health and safety has sent Detroit students home early instead of finishing the semester in the classroom.

Detroiters supported environmental safety by pushing City Council to protect Detroit’s riverfront, only to live in fear of recurring floods that have caused insurance premiums to increase.

We witnessed a guilty verdict for the murder of George Floyd and Michigan’s attempted police reform, but Kyle Rittenhouse was judged by a jury of his peers and found not guilty.

The local news landscape continues to evolve. Earlier this year, we explored the wall Built to keep Black from White: The story behind Detroit’s “Wailing Wall” that prefaces the city’s ongoing racial disparities in homeownership.

We’ve worked with other nonprofit media outlets and dug into the value of community colleges. We’ve relied on local partners, like Detroit Documenters, who have helped us keep track of public meetings to hold City officials accountable and keep Detroiters informed of everyday needs like transportation.

Detroit homeowners gained a win in the long war on property taxes, but affordable housing is still hard to find. While the population continues to decline, these Detroiters say they aren’t leaving.

While we had a moment of levity to be seen on The Scene, Detroiters are still finding ways to fight for what’s right. 

I’m still holding my breath that 2022 doesn’t become 2020 Part III.

“Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable. Every step toward the goal requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.”- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 

Olivia Lewis is a reporter for BridgeDetroit. She was formerly a reporter for the Battle Creek Enquirer and the Indianapolis Star. She has also worked in philanthropy for the Kresge Foundation, the Council...

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