For many, 2020 was a year of despair, hopelessness, and increasing anxiety. Indeed, it was a time of disease, of isolation, of economic insecurity, of ongoing racial violence, and of political polarization.
Of course, the change on our calendars won't end any of this. But a new year does offer a chance for reflection, for respite, and for a recharge. We could all use a reminder of the good that's been done in 2020, and some encouragement as we enter 2021.
That's why at the end of the year, we asked our readers to nominate "rabble rousers to watch" in 2021. In the face of all that uncertainty and turmoil, there is good being done. There are people who are dedicating their energy and their livelihoods to ensuring their communities emerge from this time in better condition than they were before.
In Hamilton, Ontario, a coalition to defund the Hamilton Police Service advocates for community building instead of policing. Just a few hours north, in Barrie, Ontario, local organizers work to push progressive issues at the municipal level in a traditionally conservative city. In Regina, a grassroots organization focuses on bringing environmental justice to the fore of electoral politics. In the Northwest Territories, a retired local politician continues to fight for victims' rights.
These are just some of the nominees our readers put forth, and we are excited to share their stories, their struggles, and their issues with you.
Building Back Better is the slogan of the day, taken on by our government, by the U.S. government, after first being adopted by the likes of Unifor and the United Nations. It's an acknowledgement that the economic and social systems in place before the pandemic arrived on our doorstep have failed us. We continue to struggle with our lack of capacity at all levels of government to minimize the harm of the pandemic.
Here at rabble, we're focused on asking tough questions about who is benefitting from our governments' economic responses to the pandemic. Are we building backwards? How will we build forward inclusively? Are we building forward with racial justice? Are we building forward with housing for all? Are we building forward with better job security, working conditions, or a green economy?
If we are to see a successful, inclusive, and progressive rebuild, we must pay attention to the people who are already driving change for the better. That's why we're excited to be amplifying the work of the 2021 rabble rousers to watch in the coming weeks and months.
We are looking forward to featuring their work through our Lynn Williams activist toolkit, as well as through a special podcast series. These perspectives will be invaluable in informing our readers about how change is playing out on the ground, in communities.
As independent, non-profit media, rabble relies on support from individual community members. Please take a moment, if you can, to make a one-time or monthly donation in support of rabble.ca. You'll be helping us in our efforts to amplify the critical work being done in communities across the country, and together, we'll add to the debate around what it means to build forward.
Kim Elliott, publisher
Maya Bhullar, Lynn Williams activist toolkit
Victoria Fenner, rabble podcast network
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