Joy and pain, like sunshine and rain

Lillian Nero, Opinion Writer

2020 has been a hectic year all around, but some Black people are grappling with not only an economic and healthcare struggle, but a struggle to find joy in all the pain. 

In 1980, R&B band, Maze, released a song entitled “Joy and Pain”. The most memorable line in the song being, “Joy and pain/like sunshine and rain, a lyric that has stood the test of time for 40 years and is still relatable even now.  

A title still ringing true, as 50% of Black students interview stated they see more Black pain than Black joy in the news.  

Between the Coronavirus, police brutality, the deaths of idols and many more, it’s been hard to find that sunshine when everything around you seems to be flooding in the rain.  

There will be sorrow, but you will endure: how much sorrow can one community go through? 

In December of 2019, like the end of any year, people across the world were looking forward to the oncoming year. 2020 was seen as the entrance into a new decade, a decade of renewal and a year of clear, “20/20 vision.”

The New Year’s Eve shows had performances by popular artist and everyone was seen standing side by side, smiling next to one other in Time Square.  

In Nebraska, there was a one hour time delay, as Nebraska is in the Central Time zone, but that didn’t stop the fun. Between families gathering around the television watching “Dick Clarke’s A Rocking New Year’s Eve!” and people going to parties with their friends, people made it their duty to enjoy the last hours of 2019.  

When the clock struck 12, all stressors from 2019 were released and the world walked into a New Year, optimistic and ready for greatness.  

Those feelings were short-lived though, as threats of a third world war, Megan Markle and Prince Harry leaving the palace, and the President’s impeachment notice were broadcasted across the news and social media.  

Then the world was alerted of a terrible disease.  

 According to the Meriam-Webster Dictionary, COIVD-19 is, “a mild to severe respiratory illness”. 

When we were first alerted of this disease, not many people took it seriously, as it was only reported in China, and only known fatal to the elderly.  

Veronica Sargbah, 10, knew what precautions take in regards to this disease, because she has had past experiences with a deadly disease.  

“I knew it was serious. I learned my lesson with Ebola because I had family members who were exposed to it, but I didn’t know it [Covid-19] was a one trip ticket to America,” said Sargbah 

Soon after the news of COVID-19 in China was announced, the world, and specifically the Black community, were blindsided with the news of basketball legend, Kobe Bryant, passing away in a helicopter crash. 

 Also, in the helicopter, was his daughter, Gianna, family of John, Keri and Alyssa Altobelli, mother and daughter Sarah and Payton Chester, Christina Mauser and pilot, Ara Zobayan.  

Bryant was a high-flying hero to many Black people. A man who could jump higher than high and a man with a mentality so strong that he seemed invincible.  

Brisha Cummings, 11, felt sad because Bryant was someone that she looked up to.  

“Kobe was someone you knew, even if you didn’t,” said Sargbah, it felt like a puzzle piece was taken out of the Black community.” 

This was just the beginning of the rollercoaster for Black people. Steadily riding up the hill, just to go down at an uncontrollable rate.  

According to the New York Daily News, on February 29, the US reported its first death from Coronavirus and weeks later, the World Health Organization (WHO), declared the Coronavirus outbreak, a “pandemic”.  

Due to the pandemic, school was cancelled for a week after spring break. Soon after, that one cancellation resulted in students not returning back to in-person learning for the remainder of the school year.  

As students neared the end of the virtual school year, there were high hopes of having a regular summer with no fear of the virus, something that seemed attainable, but then 2020 took another turn. 

A turn moving from a healthcare crisis, to a focus on police brutality and racism.  

On May 5, a video of AhmaudArbery, an unarmed man jogging in a neighborhood, being murdered by a father and son duo, was leaked onto social media, sparking immediate outrage.  

Then on May 25, a video of George Floyd, an unarmed Minneapolis resident, started circulating around the media.  

“I was very unsettled, I couldn’t keep watching the video,” said Ya’Tonya Lewis, 12 

Around this time as well, Breonna Taylor’s case was reaching the light.  

Taylor was killed in her apartment on March 13, after police served a no-knock warrant. The officers responsible were not held liable for anything.  

“Honestly, [I felt] a little defeated,” said Randy Smith, 10.  

These deaths and the deaths of countless others sparked nationwide protest, some of which are still continuing, even now.  

In a survey conducted of eight Black students at North, seven of them said that they wished for 2020 to completely stop, but it never did.  

On August 28, Black people lost yet another superhero, Chadwick Boseman. 

“I was extremely upset because as an African woman, he was one of the few celebrities that showed how Africa really is and didn’t put Africa down,” said Sabrina Sagitteh, 10. 

Boseman is best known for his role as “T’Challa”, an African king in Marvel’s 2018 blockbuster film, Black Panther. Prior to that, he portrayed many Black men in history, like Jackie Robinson, James Brown and Thurgood Marshall.  

His death sent waves around the world, as many Black people yet again, lost another one of their heroes.  

100% of the students in the survey agreed that being Black has a stronger meaning now, more than ever.  

“With everything that’s been going on, every Black person in America is stronger,” said Smith, “It takes only the strongest will and courage to speak out against injustice, to educate the ignorant repeatedly, and to keep our cool when the haters and the supremacist continue to push our buttons.”  

 2020 has been a most chaotic year, there will be sorrow, but you will endure.   

Where there’s a flower, there’s the sun and the rain: even amid chaos, joy is a necessity  

ZaNya Collins, 11, feels that Black Joy is, “happiness, smiles and good times,” yet she has seen more Black pain than Black Joy in the news.  

“It [the news] has always been that way,” she said, “It’s the way the system is set up.”  

Even though the daily news may be negative, students are finding joy in their daily life amongst the pain.  

“My happiest moment of this year was being able to spend time with my family and friends, even if it was over Zoom,” said Johnnah Bailey, 12, “I am truly thankful every day to be alive.” 

Bailey is an example of how people have been using technology as a mean to connect with others, but for LaVaughn Luellen, 12, he looked for other means to connect, as he didn’t want to be addicted to a screen.  

“I’ve found happiness in nature and scenery. It was key that I got out of the house and enjoyed the things around me,” said Luellen   

For Collins, she found joy in celebrities and their accomplishments.  

“I grew up watching Zendaya, and it’s so good to see her win an award, considering that there’s not a lot of Black people that have won an Emmy,” she said.  

She also felt a sense of joy watching Rihanna’s fashion show for her clothing line, “Savage X Fenty. 

“She’s just a boss with her company, her brands. She included people of all backgrounds in it,” Collins said.  

In a year full of chaos, students are still finding joy in the little things of everyday life.