Year-in-review

December 4, 2019

“It was the best of times; it was the worst of times…”
– Charles Dickens

Literary enthusiasts remember the famous opening line of Charles Dickens in A Tale of Two Cities. I will borrow from Dickens’ classic line as we close out 2019.

In 2019 we have seen some good. This was the first time in history that a diverse class of lawmakers were sworn into the 116th Congress. The class of 2019 includes the most women ever!

Michelle Obama conducted a worldwide tour promoting her book Becoming. According to her publisher, she has sold nearly 10 million copies and Becoming may just be the most successful memoir in history!

On the issue of climate change, young people walked out of school in May to bring awareness to climate change to encourage lawmakers and the world to take action to confront the climate crisis.

Finally, a law passed in California that banned workplace discrimination of natural hair! I am a natural-hair wearing sister and the passing of the “Crown Act” gave new life to my kinky hair wearing self! California employers cannot tell their employees or kids they cannot rock cornrows, locs or an afro to work or school. The Crown Act is the acronym for “Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair.” While it seems behind the times that it took until 2019 to make it illegal to police our hair, the good news is it has passed in California and hopefully it will take root in every state in our nation.

On the other hand, 2019 has brought despair and suffering. I write this article on the heels of a year in our nation where we have experienced the rise in hateful and cruel rhetoric and behavior with racially motivated undertones. This year has also seen its share of pain, trauma and violence as we continue to witness the innocent unarmed become victims of violence and murder. Many Americans struggle daily in our contemporary society where power is still abused and injustice still exists.

There has also been a rise in reckless driving on our nation’s roadways. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reports that current analysis found that both the rates of hit-and-run crashes and fatalities are increasing. Deaths from drivers running red lights reached a 10-year high in 2017. According to the most recent data available by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, the number of people killed when someone plowed through a redlight reached 939 in 2017, which equates to more than 2 people killed every day on U.S. roadways by impatient drivers. Something has to be done! Our policing agencies, lawmakers, elected officials and community leaders must team up to find solutions to reduce the surge of collisions on our nation’s roadways. Above all, every driver behind the wheel must make it their business to avoid impatient driving and red-light running as it puts everyone, including pedestrians and cyclists on the road, in danger and at risk of serious injury.

Looking ahead to 2020, this column will continue to provide information-rich content with the intent of striking the right balance between facts and explanation. With that thought in mind, 2020 will begin with the highly requested series on the new Driver’s License requirement — the Real ID.

Beloved, as always, this column will take a break for the rest of December, as I tuck my pen and paper neatly in a drawer and spend time with family and friends during the holidays. I am wishing all of you and yours a blessed holiday season and a very safe, healthy and prosperous New Year!

Next Month – January 2020: The Real ID

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