AARPColumnists

Reimagine Everything: 2020: A Defining Time

By December 18, 2020March 15th, 2021No Comments

Ron Mori

No matter our age, none of us will forget this year, as we have all adapted to our new normal. Some of us have even thrived and been able to take pause and reflect on what’s important to us. Our new normal is adapting in the face of a global pandemic, with the optimism of several positive vaccines as I write this article. Will we ever go back to normal, or will our new normal be a hybrid of in-person and virtual gatherings? Only time will tell, but there have been positives that have come out this year.

According to the United States Census Bureau, 99.9 percent of Asian households were counted in the 2020 Census. I like to think that this is the start of a movement of civic participation by more Asian American and Pacific Islanders at the local, state and federal level.

Another positive sign is that more AAPIs were elected to public office during recent elections, which is an encouraging statistic along with the active census participation and AAPI participation in our 2020 elections.

In some ways, Bruce Lee opened the American movie theater doors to movies from Asia like “Parasite.” A ground-breaking movie thriller from Korea, it was the first Asian film to win the Oscar for Best Picture earlier this year.

According to APIA Vote, there was a 310 percent increase in early AAPI votes cast across the country. If we want our voices heard and to be counted, these are all encouraging signs in the midst of a global pandemic.

This year would have been Bruce Lee’s 80th birthday, and he struggled to find success in Hollywood in the 1960s and early ’70s. Just saying Bruce Lee makes me think of his ground-breaking role as an actor, director and international superstar who led many people to think of Asians in a different way forever.

In some ways, Bruce Lee opened the American movie theater doors to movies from Asia like “Parasite.” A ground-breaking movie thriller from Korea, it was the first Asian film to win the Oscar for Best Picture earlier this year.

It seems so long ago, before our world and country was hit with COVID-19, not by a global parasite, but a global pandemic that is impacting all of us for the second and, for some, a third time. Many of us know front-line responders who are unsung heroes that aren’t portrayed as superheroes on the big screen.

AAPIs from all backgrounds and ages have been leading the fight against the pandemic across the country. AARP took great pride in recognizing AAPI front-line heroes this year in a special Facebook campaign that is still so true today. On behalf of AARP, we thank every one of you as you quietly go about your business of protecting and caring for all of us across the country. Visit their stories at https://bit.ly/AAPIHeroes.

AARP recognized front-line heroes this year in a special Facebook campaign. (Photo: Courtesy of AARP)

As we look forward to 2021, I am thankful that we could have several effective vaccines that will be available to all of us and that slowly and cautiously, we  could soon go back to our lives of being connected to other people and our communities.

However, there will still be many people that will need our assistance, connection and friendship, especially when many of us have been away from our loved ones. To stay on top of the latest COVID-19 news, get connected to a volunteer and learn about local resources, check out https://aarpcommunityconnections.org.

Ron Mori is a member of the Washington, D.C., JACL chapter and manager of community, states and national affairs — multicultural leadership for AARP.

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