Editor's Letter: Beholden 2020

Editor's Letter: Beholden 2020
Words by Shelly Brown

How do I wrap up 2020? It was a year that began with the reputation of being the new decade that we needed—and maybe that’s exactly what it was. Sometimes you have to make a mess before you can clean it up. 

I’m not a very futuristic person. I don’t dream about new technology and what the next advances in our world will be. I tend to look at the past for answers—that’s where I find patterns that may be repeating themselves, and answers on what to do (as well as what not to do). Some of the greatest comforts of 2020 for me were found in stories from the generations before us. Whether it was people I had the pleasure of meeting, books I read, or stories told by a parent or grandparent; they were stories of humans who had already lived through pandemics, already lived through riots, and already looked through the eyes of fear. Many of the stories I had the pleasure of hearing, reading, and learning about through history were of people who had been through things I can’t even imagine. The common thread in these stories was that all the lessons learned came down to one consistent thing in this world…change. Change will come whether we are ready for it or not, and it is up to us to decide what stays steady. We have the power to stay steady and live through love, to keep doing the things that keep us mentally strong, and to stick with healthy habits. We have complete control over our attitudes. 

Our beautiful Beholden issue you’re holding in your hands is packed with stories of strength and resilience—stories like Cherisa, who ignored the stereotypes and became a literal trailblazer.  People like Timothy Hammond, who continued through the pandemic to grow his “Big City Garden,” and teach others to keep growing as well. The backbone of Southern Culture lies in the melting pot that has formed its history and will continue to drive its future. Marilynn Lokelani Kauhane Howe shares how having a strong bond with her own culture helped her have a strong bond with the South, and how most important relationships have been around food, intimate conversations, and sitting at a table with people that may not look just like us. In perhaps the read we all need most, Dr. Jerome wraps 2020 with reminding us of our own capacity for triumph.

As we wrap this year together, if there is a space in your life left by loss, we are so, so sorry. If there is fear because you aren’t in the position you thought you would be, hold onto hope. If quarantine rocked your world and you suddenly became a homeschool parent, we are with you. Most importantly, if you’ve done your work to stay healthy, if you’ve expanded to accept the parts of you that aren’t pretty, and if you are taking baby steps forward, we are so damn proud of you. As a team, we have decided that we no longer wish to be a magazine who talks about Southern Culture—we are a magazine who drives it through by telling your damn good stories. We hope you come along.