#Editorial: Waiting to Exhale 2020

In this Nov. 9, 2020, file photo, pedestrians walk past Pfizer world headquarters in New York. Pfizer said Friday, Nov. 20, 2020, it is asking U.S. regulators to allow emergency use of its COVID-19 vaccine, starting the clock on a process that could bring limited first shots as early as next month and eventually an end to the pandemic -- but not until after a long, hard winter. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, File)

Judging from the mood, attitude and comments of the vast majority of communities globally, people are holding their collective breaths, anxiously waiting for 2020 to fade into history so they can exhale with relief.

What looked like a potentially great year with the anticipation of another grand World Olympics scheduled for summer; a competitive race to elect a Democratic presidential candidate to challenge Donald Trump for the U.S. presidency in November, and everyone hoping 2020 would be the year their personal dreams would be fulfilled; began to unravel in January with the tragic death of basketball star Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and several others in a helicopter crash in California.

This tragedy was followed in the succeeding months by a series of bizarre, hitherto believed implausible events and challenges that very few ever experienced.  

What seemed like a mysterious illness confined to Wuhan, China rapidly morphed into a deadly global pandemic, with unbelievable consequences and the death of over 1.7 million people including over 320,000 in the U.S. to date.

This pandemic, which as the year ends is yet to be controlled, has spawned economic crises, and unheard-of financial hardships to people and businesses here and around the world. It has taken away simple freedoms—like visiting families and hugging people or even being close to them. It has even taken away the ability to enjoy iconic religious celebrations like Easter and the traditions of Christmas.

But the pandemic was only one of the bizarre incidents 2020 brought with it. Americans also endured intense widespread civil unrests resulting from persistent occurrences of police brutality, and inequities in the justice system, against Black men and women; a bitter presidential election campaign, and an incumbent but defeated president, who continues to claim the presidential election was fraudulent and refuses to concede; and a hurricane season that seemed endless sending six powerful hurricanes to the mainland.

The experiences of 2020 make most people hope they’ll never experience another year like it. Undoubtedly, 2020, like 1968, will be locked in the annals of history as one of the worst years ever.

While so many people are disappointed that they are unable to celebrate the Christmas season the usual way, we cannot ignore that the pandemic has left so many families grieving for loved ones who won’t be at the Christmas table this year or any other year.

As a pastor told this newspaper recently, “Those who are alive and in good health this Christmas, would have received two of the most precious gifts in the world—life and health.” 

We, as South Floridians, should also be thankful that despite the unusually hectic hurricane season and the flood rains in October, the region was largely spared. The challenges a hurricane would have created in the midst of the devastating pandemic is unimaginable.

South Florida’s leaders of counties, cities, and school districts stepped up and helped residents cope with the challenges of the pandemic, even when state and federal leaders placed their political ambitions over the life, health, and welfare of the people.

As the year closes, there is positive news of an increasing number of businesses migrating to South Florida from states like California. It’s indicative the region could experience an economic boost in 2021 as external companies consider the advantages of doing business in Florida with its relatively relaxed tax policies. Ironically, the difficulties experienced in 2020 allowed the spotlight to focus on the advantages of living and doing business in Florida, particularly South Florida.

The Caribbean National Weekly did not escape the challenges of 2020, but even when the challenges seemed most daunting, the management and staff of this newspaper exercised its commitment to providing the Caribbean-American community with up-to-date information, commentaries, and news analysis. As has occurred over the 16 years that this organization has been in operation, not one edition of this newspaper missed being professionally published during this most challenging year.

Not only did this newspaper continue to meet its obligation to the community, but it was also able to expand its services, reporting news from the diaspora and the Caribbean through another portal, Diaspora Nightly, available weeknights on cnweeklynews.com.

There is something very special about giving thanks in difficult times, as it means the reasons for giving thanks are particularly appreciated. It is with this appreciation in mind that special thanks go out to each member of CNW’s staff who unselfishly contributed to business beyond the norm, and rose above the challenges during 2020.

Special thanks to the readers for their continued, and expanded, support of the newspaper and its website. You are the reason why we found it possible to circumvent every challenge posed by 2020. You showed us you need to be informed, and we humbly obliged.

And, a very special thanks to the businesses that supported the newspaper during the challenging year. Though severely impacted during the lockdown periods, most continued advertising to reach their market through CNW. There is no way, even with the best of efforts, this newspaper could have continued its operations without the support of these advertisers.

So as 2020 closes, we look forward with hope to 2021 and should strive to make it the best year of our collective lives.

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