Recently I was asked, “What’s your favorite moment from the past year?” Casual, late-night, hot tub talks, right? One person’s “hot take” answer (his words) was that the COVID-19 pandemic was his favorite part. As he said this, a list of events and happenings ran through my head.
We’ve had a year turned sideways: a global pandemic, social justice movements, a new presidency, a stock market crash and the list goes on. As uncomfortable as it feels, I might have to agree with the aforementioned hot take. But perhaps the better description is that the pandemic was “defining,” not “a favorite.”
The pandemic brought change, reflection and silver linings. Most of all, it allowed many of us to slow down. This time in history is called The Great Pause for a reason. Although it (rightly) caused uncertainty, anger and fear, I think it’s also important to see the positives.
This past year has also shown me that journalism matters more than ever. I’ve always clung to the cliche that journalism gives a voice to the voiceless, and I think that truism has come to light, especially this year.
In one of this issue’s feature stories (p. 12), Vox writer Katelynn McIlwain explores Columbia’s own roots of racial terror. She elevates previously silenced voices and gives us a history lesson on important events that happened right here. Vox also introduces you to the people of The WE Project, a community photography initiative aimed to capture marginalized voices and stories (p. 17).
People and places bind us. Vox captures community and culture, and it’s part of how I’ve come to know Columbia as home. With bachelor’s and soon-to-be master’s degrees, I’m leaving with an education and an appreciation for the people who make Columbia what it is: a colorful community with diverse people, places and experiences.