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Five APR opinions that mattered in 2020

“There was laughter and many tears, and more than a little hope.”

As we reach the end of 2020, it is always good to reflect on the past as we look to the future. Here are some of the opinion columns that best encompass the year we experienced. There was laughter and many tears, and more than a little hope.

Joey Kennedy: “Heroes work here”

Joey certainly has a way with words. This piece affected me on a tremendous level eight months ago, and especially now, because our frontline workers have persevered through this entire year and pandemic, working thankless jobs. Grocery store employees, maintenance workers, hospital employees, delivery drivers, childcare workers, and all of those small or large necessities that we take for granted — they’re handling it, rain or shine, COVID or no COVID.

Joey said then: “Some will lose their lives.” And some of them did. And more of them will if we don’t take every precaution necessary to protect them and ourselves until we reach the end of this pandemic. We all want to see normalcy again, and that will come. But we have to remember that “Heroes work here” and thank those who are fighting every day by doing all we can to honor their work and sacrifice.

Bill Britt: Have hope

Bill can always manage to tug on a heartstring or make one question the intricacies of human emotion — if only for the few minutes you’re reading his writing. His piece, “Have hope,” did just that for me.

Hope is one thing we as a society all have to cling to in order to know that better days are coming. We are strong people, and our hope is a weapon against negative forces. Bill wrote: “But even in times of real human crisis, hope isn’t dead but remains a vital thread of what we know as the human spirit.”

That is most definitely a thought to keep in your pocket at all times for when one feels weary. This year has thrown many of us hardships and strife, but if there’s something small to remember, it is to have hope.

Josh Moon: Jim Zeigler has reminded everyone how useless the state auditor is

Yes, I decided to throw this one in the ring for one of my favorite opinion pieces of the year. Remember back in February when the Legislature brought forth a bill that would completely eliminate the state auditor’s office, forcing Jim Zeigler to vacate by 2022? And it was pre-COVID? Much better times.

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Sadly, the bill did not pass and we will continue to endure Zeigler for the time being. But I love to come back to this piece on occasion and remember what could have been. Zeigler continues to be a troll under a bridge that wasn’t built.

Few creatures are sadder than a bridgeless troll. As Josh said: “We don’t need that guy anymore. We haven’t needed that person in about 30 years now.” Oh, Jim. It’s almost 2021. Get the picture.

Joey Kennedy: Bravo moment for Birmingham, UAB

I don’t live in Birmingham, but I have acquaintances and people that I love and care about who do, and this will be a most influential addition to their already flourishing college education system. Joey wrote a brilliant, encompassing article concerning free tuition being provided to qualifying students that ensures an upstanding education at one of our state’s most noteworthy institutions.

I am so proud that this year, Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin and UAB’s President Ray Watts, partnered together to promise free tuition for Birmingham City Schools graduates. Joey wrote: “I am proud to teach at a university that sees the value of partnering with a city to help provide that scholarship money to deserving teens.”

That was from the mouth of someone who interacts with these students daily and loves his career, so I can certainly say an astounding decision was made here, and Birmingham’s students have a bright future ahead of them.

Josh Moon: Racism has broken America. We can fix it 

This has been heavy on my heart for quite some time. This year, more than ever. Josh writes about a Black man, Devin Adams, fearing for his life in common day America. An Auburn football player. A lot of our people are Auburn fans, right? How does that make you feel?

Someone you love to watch on Saturday afternoons for entertainment, having to change how he dresses and acts in order to appease the police so they don’t fear him as an individual. Does that sit right with you?

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As Josh says: “Racism grows and spreads because it is not challenged. Racism flourishes out of fear – usually of the unknown”  Know your neighbor, know their struggles. Make 2021 an inviting, loving year, because those around you need it.

Josh also wrote: “Teach your children that the color of a person’s skin is as meaningless as the color of their shoes, and that skin color should never, ever be a barrier to friendship and love.” Teach your children to love those of different races and those facing different obstacles, and 2021 will be a much more beautiful year.

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