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2021 Hopes, Fears, and Possibilities for the Year

Photo credits, clockwise from upper left: Kristine Wook, Cristina Eisenberg, Nathen Domlo,

By Michael McDermott

The year is upon us and already it seems old. Things happened that had us feeling down one day and up the next. Jan 6 looms over all, the frightening events of that day tell us about where it came from and how the movement behind it built. White Supremacist and paramilitary organizations have hijacked and will continue to build even more divisions. The results of the election give reason for hope and offer a chance of addressing problems if pushed by those affected and all of us.

The Georgia senate election is a boost both for the results and what it meant for people’s involvement. The same is true for the multiple groups active from the BLM movement. Young peoples of all identities have shown their unity in BLM protests and in voting. Independents are often disgusted by reactionary politicians and are crossing over. These are righteous causes giving hope.

Fear may be dominant now. Fear fuels the racists and white supremacists, fear that the country is not what they selfishly think was a history of a white country to them but these people never had it as good as they imagine their status was but still as whites as they are fed fear by those who use them for sowing division. As it was said in the South, you may not have much but at least you are white.

Moving from fear to hope is happening and this blog will produce work that does just that. For weeks to come the Black Earth Institute will present a daily work, Mondays through Fridays, in 2021 Hopes, Fears, and Possibilities for the Year. Presented by BEI fellows and friends, we expect work that expresses just that. Hope and possibilities will be dominant, with fear as a motivating force that cannot be ignored.

The hardest area to move from fear to hope is the reality of a well-entrenched militia moment. These militia movements ebb and flow and right now are flowering in fear-laden circles that now dominates a good part of those who found Trump as sort of a savior that will deliver and stop the country from being transformed as it must be.

Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz in her An Indigenous Peoples History of the United States portrays the ugly role of militias in the period before and after independence in being the shock troops of “clearing” the land for colonization. They led in murder even before formally approved and often created a situation where the army then had to take action. Now they can lead the fearful circles and will continue to try to do so.

Those fearful of change watch and shift the blame as the earth burns and freezes and species die many per day. Our work will expose this problem of global climate change and can find hope in our relations to animals and peaceful places and experiences.

We will show that peoples can be inspired to take action and create a different reality than we have now. This is our aim, to give a collection in which hope overcomes fear and creates desired possibilities.

Each day will feature a different artist and a different emphasis on problems or solutions.