So it’s clear that 2020 was a year for the books. It’ll certainly be a time in all of our lives that we won’t forget, and generations to come will likely know of the eventful 2020. We faced a global pandemic that forced all of us to reassess our priorities, our relationships, and our habits. We saw perhaps the most tumultuous election season in history, dividing our country in a way that caused even more friction. We witnessed a major social justice movement for racial equality and a call for change. All of these events have caused significant trauma for many of us – for those of color, it’s brought generations of pain and suffering to the surface. For those that have been marginalized and segmented, it’s been a moment of silence yet disruption.

All of this friction has left a lot of uncertainty in the air – it’s caused many people to respond with physical violence, heated arguments, and silence. It’s forced all of us to think about how we’re talking to one another, interacting with each other, making decisions, and thinking about how all of this has an impact on our futures.

For many, this is an incredibly stressful time. Because we live in New York City, we have access to tremendous diversity and populations of all races, ethnicities, belief systems, and backgrounds. I’d like to think that for most of us, this is a valuable trait to have for the city that I call home. Others may not appreciate this as much and actually might be threatened by this diversity and open-mindedness. This knowledge, as a result, often makes me worried about my own safety from time to time. I know that at any moment, I could be a part of or witness a hate crime; protests are constantly taking place in areas all over the city.

I often think of all of these events and shifts in our world this way: we’re in the middle of a growth spurt. We’re adjusting to new developments with the pandemic. We’re making social change. We’re trying to soothe the divisiveness within our political atmosphere. It just so happens that we’re right in the middle of all this change. It can often feel uncomfortable and nervous about what this means for our future. But here’s what I also learned about staying safe and informed, especially since we live in a city that is diverse and progressive but also often in the public eye.

1. Stay informed

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This includes staying updated with current events around the pandemic, politics, and our social justice movement. Staying in-tune with these developments will not only keep you informed, but you’ll know about the tools that you have available to help in that change – volunteering in your community can help people with limited access get appointments for vaccines, speaking up when you see injustice can help shift behavior, and having conversations with people of different political opinions can help soften rigid thought processes.

2. Pay attention to time

We all have our personal rules about staying out late. For me, if it’s past 11pm, I won’t take public transportation – I’ll get a cab instead. Use this intuition. Despite the change that’s taking place in our city, there are still people out there looking to cause a stir. There are still people angry about injustice. The last thing you want is to get caught in the crossfire. Stay home. Use your instincts on what is the safest decision.

3. Keep talking with one another

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Again, there’s just generally a lot of unrest happening right now. As we all continue to spend a lot of time at home, it can be easy for many to become more isolated mentally and emotionally. Check in with your loved ones to see how they’re doing. Check in with your friends of color to find out what you can do to help support their community. Keep talking about “uncomfortable” things like race, access, and equality. Keep normalizing the mental health conversation. The more that EVERYONE talks about these topics, the easier it is that we’ll make and see long-term progress.

2020 and 2021 have been difficult years for our city and our country at large. If you want to be on the positive side of history, keep having these conversations and do what you can to be a part of the change – while also staying safe. Be mindful, be considerate, but also be daring. We can get through this all together if we work together.

Category : Stay in New York