person holding white scroll

Dear Class of 2021

Yes, Seniors, the last year has brought you unexpected challenges during a time when you are figuring out who you are and what you want your future to look like. You are heading out into a world that has changed, but the trajectory of that change is not out of your hands. I have seen what you are capable of. I have seen your compassion and concern for others. I have seen your creativity and desire for a better future. I have seen your passion and I’ve watched you march for change.

sad woman standing on coast of sea at sunset

How Will We Handle Our Next Crisis?

I’m interested in healing the wounds, a healing that can only happen if we actually learn from the past this time. I really don’t want to fear the next pandemic. I don’t want to fear the next crisis. I want to be able to trust that my fellow citizens will look out for each other and not just their own interests. I want to believe that more of us understand that we are interdependent and that this interdependence makes us stronger, not weaker. I want to believe that we are better than our social media accounts say that we are.

woman looking at the map

Leave Town to Better Know Your Country

Maybe it’s time for us to start looking for new ways to force people out of their geographical and digital bubbles and help them to see that we have more in common than we do differences. Domestic exchange programs and building a new Civilian Conservation Corps would be great places to start, developing friendships and connections that potentially last decades. There is no shame in loving our homes and taking great pride in our towns, cities, and states. The problem is when we see those towns, cities, and states as “the best of all possible worlds,” to borrow a phrase from Candide.

young multiracial ladies chatting on bench in park after studies

I Don’t Want to Return to Normal

Even those least affected by COVID-19 and the ripple effect of its presence will be forever changed. It is understandable to desire a return to “normal.” It is human to look back on the past with a sense of clouded nostalgia, remembering things as we want to remember them, not as they actually were. But before we jump into a return to the way things were, we should take a moment to imagine the way things could be.