I write these words amid an accelerating pandemic with a sitting president openly calling for a lid on democracy, wildfire still barely at bay, and a global community awaiting election results on pins and needles right alongside us (need I go on?) …
It’s a sentence that in 2019 I would’ve thought was the start to my next half-finished dystopian novel. However, we’re living it and today is 2020’s election “day” (week? month?) as I write in trepidation knowing that results are unlikely to be finalized by the time we go to press in just a few days. And for the four years leading up to this day, I’ve watched an increasingly divided country show some of its seediest underbellies.
Yet within the daily existence of that alarming reality, there is joy. There is laughter, there is hope, and there has been a deepening collaboration among humanitarian groups that’s inspiring innovation and amplifying marginalized peoples’ voices across the country to demand equity and recompense for the historical atrocities and current injustices they face.
A small, rural, predominantly White mountain town in California called Truckee showed up with more than a thousand silent, peaceful protest-goers in solidarity with a Black man killed by law enforcement five states away. Kings Beach, Reno, and South Lake Tahoe also staged protests and vigils in the wake of the murder of George Floyd and countless others.
More individual votes have already been counted in the 2020 presidential race than ever before in any previous election in our nation’s history.
Environmental, Indigenous rights, Black Lives Matter, feminism, and LGBTQ+ rights activists across the country joined in conversation to further mutual aims and solidify demands for equality and progress by seeking to empathize and relate to one another’s experiences. At the same time, amid the inability to gather in person, our local community has come together with tremendous feats of collaboration, based on hope.
For example, read about the effort and humanity behind the partners that came together to make the Food Hub Giving Boxes a reality. Hope felt lost when so many people in the region faced food insecurity, often for the first time, yet support and group thinking prevailed, letting hope remain the driving force behind the project.
This month’s In the Past article also reflects fellow feeling. The Chinese construction workers who forged the way to the West through this region are receiving acknowledgement … finally.
Find feminism in action with Women of Winter, four local ladies taking the male-dominated industry by storm. Each of them in her interview spoke to the power of supporting one other.
And a coordinated, concerted effort has never been as important as in working to best mitigate the region’s wildfire issue (see our latest On Fire piece — online only — that describes this coming together, titled A Race Against Wildfire.)
Even Moonshine’s very own membership campaign, the budding effort we’ve watched grow into organic enthusiasm for a joint reader- and advertising-funded publication, builds on the same momentum, and we’re riding it to create new models for independent journalism. (Our first Hero signed up!)
The examples are big or small, close to home or far off in Washington, DC. Yet when examined jointly, these trends are connected, like a constellation you can’t make out at first. We’re witnessing a population waking up to its power, and hope for continued progress comes from collaboration.
I urge the Tahoe/Truckee region to keep that momentum going here in our mountain arena. If this nation is waking up to the need to listen to its citizens, and if the people are rising to the challenge, if the time is now to accelerate progress … then the world should hear from us here on the spine of the Sierra.