Julia Contreras: Reflecting on the disaster that is 2020

From Kobe, to Corona and George Floyd and beyond

Julia Contreras (Class of 2021), Staff Writer


Rioting has become one of the “new normals” in the past five months.

So far, 2020 has been a curve-ball.

We have never known what’s coming and how strong we will have to be to face it.

On December 31st we all celebrated and threw our hands in the air saying, “Here’s to 2020!”, but little did we know how harsh this year would be.

Coming back to school during a crazy time seemed impossible, but here we are now, sitting at desks typing away.

As I type this story, my mind is going on a quick overview about what quarantine truly was like for us.

In my opinion, quarantine showed me everyone’s true colors. Whether they were celebrities, friends, or family, I saw everyone’s real opinions and real face, the face they show to the world in times of despair and worry. 

There was a time in quarantine where I went to another state and had to stay inside for two weeks to prevent any spread of disease. During that time, I watched the news everyday and what I saw truly terrified me and made my heart hurt.

One day a man died because he went on a jog, being shot to death due to the color of his skin.

The next day a man dies of suffocation and the wrath of a police officer. Not only did George Floyd die by being choked, but he couldn’t even explain himself.

He was repeating these exact words, “I can’t breathe.”

The worst part … these scenarios aren’t even rare.

For years people of color have been unfairly persecuted and they have suffered brutality and harsh acts committed against them.

Many of the deaths have been hidden from the world, buried deep in the surface of the earth almost as if people think we will forget their names.

Remember their names.

After opening my eyes and seeing how the world truly is, and how mad it can be, I want to spread awareness for those who aren’t able to spread it themselves. I want to be able to be a voice for the people that don’t have one in such a toxic community.

What was really heartwarming was the fact that our generation was able to understand and see how terrible things are now. Our generation is more vocal, and able to spread even more awareness for those that can’t.

That’s what makes me happy.

Being able to have our own opinions when it comes to life and death. Being able to stand up for whats right instead of following. This is what we can learn from 2020: to not be a follower, but to be a figure for everyone and everything that needs it.

A few things that I’d like to keep in mind and that I’d like to remind everyone is to respect others. Respect each others opinions.

Just because someone may have different beliefs or values doesn’t mean they are inferior. Respect the fact that people say no, respect what others do for their well-being, respect your family, friends, and your teachers.

There’s no reason to be angry. If we are all angry at the world, then where is the change and movement we need? What we all need is to be united, to be one, and not divided.

It’s a beautiful and comforting thing to see people standing up for one another, and I saw a lot of that during these protests. I do not condone riots or acts of violence. However, when someone doesn’t have a voice for years and can’t have a say in their own lives, then I completely understand the rage.

These people will no longer be silenced.  They will be heard. As a matter of fact, some have been heard, and we need to keep going. I understand that people may not agree with me, and I completely respect that and don’t mind at all, as it’s amazing to have our own opinions.

I want people to realize that this year will be marked forever in history.

Our children will see pictures form the protests, art of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and others who have died under terrible circumstances.

Buildings being lit on fire, and hundreds of people laying down on the street for eight minutes to represent how vulnerable George was when he died will be pictured.

History books will show a police officer hugging a protester, apologizing for what his other officers have done; teenagers and adults holding up signs and being sprayed with tear gas, but still standing tall and protesting for the ones who couldn’t make it, for the ones who couldn’t stand up for themselves. This year will be marked as one of the most memorable and important events in history, and we will never forget.