While 2021 has seen glimpses of hope, such as the mass rollout of multiple COVID-19 vaccines, it has also seen some of the grim parts of 2020 leak into this year.
COVID-19 vaccines are now being rapidly distributed across the country. At the same time, however, new and more dangerous variants of COVID-19 are popping up all around the country.
The United States is in a race against the clock. The hopes are to vaccinate enough people so that there is protection against these new variants. But if that is not done quickly, it is possible that the U.S. will see yet another spike in COVID-19 cases nationwide. While there is a light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to ending the pandemic soon, that can only be done if people continue to get vaccinated.
While issues of police brutality have been relevant for generations, it was the death of George Floyd in May of last year that brought the issue of police brutality, especially against the black community, back into the forefront of discussions. For the past three weeks, the former police officer who was responsible for the death of George Floyd has been on trial.
In the midst of the trial, in the same city that George Floyd was killed, another black man was shot when a Minneapolis police officer pulled her gun instead of her taser and fatally shot Daunte Wright. Following the shooting of Daunte Wright, protestors took the streets and clashed with police officers.
Increasing racial tensions are not just prevalent in Minnesota. A few weeks ago, a man in Atlanta targeted Asian women as he went on a killing spree where he went to three different spas and killed eight people. Attacks on Asian-Americans have been rising all throughout 2021. This is a continuation of the increase in hate crimes against Asian-Americans in 2020 as reported by Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism.
This was far from the only mass shooting this year. According to Yahoo, “There have been over 130 mass shootings in the US so far in 2021.” That number is from Friday, April 9, 2021. Congress remains in gridlock about what to do regarding these mass shootings. Like a broken record, Democrats are calling for stronger gun restrictions as an attempt to curb the amount of gun violence and Republicans are chastising them for using these mass shootings for political gain.
Corruption in American politics has continued to be an issue of 2021, as well. Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz is being investigated on allegations of sex trafficking a minor. Gaetz denies these allegations.
While the world may seem as if it is once again going to be in shambles, there is hope on the horizon. Hope that George Floyd’s family will receive justice, hope that this pandemic will end, hope that corruption will be rooted out of our politics. While 2020 may have bled into 2021, that doesn’t mean 2021 cannot still be a year filled with optimism about the future.