What a year. From the pandemic to the protests to the partisanship, volumes will be written about the 366 days that comprised 2020. Our writers have chronicled this year through the lofty lens of equality in their stories: the highs, the lows, and the crazy range of stuff in-between.
The editors of Our Human Family (OHF) culled this year’s articles for our favorites: the works that best reflect the ideals to which we aspire. While we adore all our writers and their ability to bring the fullness of their humanity to their writing, the twenty writers and their works listed below — none of whom are OHF editors — nailed it. Through their writing, these authors shined a light on the complexities and idiosyncrasies of the human experience that bring us together or sometimes keep us from achieving our fullest potential.
We’re revealing four of our favorites in no particular order each day over a five-day period, and then sharing the full list on New Year’s Eve. So sit back and enjoy the fourth installment of these reflections that explores and illuminates the strength, beauty, shame, and resilience of our human family.
Love one another,
Founder and Editorial Director
Special Projects Editor
Cynthia Dagnal-Myron has made a successful career of telling the truths about our land — its people and the issues — and is always looking for signs that we might just be seeing the changes we have long hoped for. She speaks from her experience of being a mother, and now a grandmother, looking for better days ahead for them and for everyone. Her essay on the necessity of change in the way the police operate comes from the understanding that we must do something to fix what’s broken. We just can’t go on with the way things are.
William Spivey writes historic treatises in a casual and relatable manner that doesn’t back down from the facts. William also has a gift weaving if deadpan threads of martini dry wit for the attentive. “When You’ve Been White Too Long” is a prime example of his layered writing. In it, he details what happens when one loses the ability to recognize that the system is rigged as well as the desire to rectify the inequities therein. A former basketball player turned historian, Mr. Spivey forte is mining the unvarnished truth of Black American’s experience and contributions to the oft whitewashed version of American history.
Sylvia Wohlfarth is a social anthropologist, half Nigerian and half Irish, and lives in Ireland after having lived over four decades in Germany. She first wrote for OHF in our “Equal People” poetry project in which her passion for marginalized and voiceless was on full display. As a European, Sylvia was a little unfamiliar with the extent of America’s legacy of racism. What she presents in this essay are the result of her research and is in essence an extensive Jim Crow primer that succinctly recounts the unique cruelty of America’s strain of racism. And yet while America lives in denial about its cruelty, Sylvia’s simple twist of words reveals just how unjust the system is — and leads to a more empathetic understanding.
Drew Downs is of that rare breed of writer, a priest (in the Episcopal church) who speaks the truth in love and actively seeks to build bridges in his community and the world, instead of walls. All of Drew’s articles are firmly rooted in Christ’s command to love one another. In “The Cost of Reconciliation,” Drew demonstrates that something for nothing is always a tempting offer, but rarely if ever does it work out that way. Our nation’s social, racial, and economic divisions will not resolve themselves of their own accord. True reconciliation of these ills requires much more. Drew presents the prerequisites.