My New Year’s Resolution for 2022? To be negative, and stay that way—until the CDC figures things out and everyone gets access to not just an antigen rapid test, but one of those better PCR tests.
In New York, It shouldn’t be easier to find a parking space than a Covid test.
But this is where we are at the end of 2021. We don’t need good news. We need one better—great news.
Soon the stork will arrive with what always is the very first news story every year, no matter what town, state, or region. Wherever you are, a headline will announce the first baby of the year.
For this extraordinary year of 2022, let’s not wait.
Let’s rebirth ourselves.
We deserve it after 2021 and 2020, the twin towers of Covid, and now with Omicron? (Remember it’s pronounced “Awe-micron,” from the Greek, not the Valley Girl, “Oh-migawd.” Win a bar bet tonight at your safe and mask-free zoom cocktail party.)
We could all use a re-birthing, a new beginning right about now, don’t you think?
Just do it. This year it’s DIY. Be the New Year’s baby.
Think of the final push, the drive through the birth canal like gliding into life with ease. Pain? What pain? We’re bringing the joy, and newness. And after what we’ve been through, we all need that. A fresh start.
Normally, a columnist reviews the year past, but after this particularly grim year, we can’t wait for someone else’s baby.
We need to be the baby. We all could use that baby perspective.
Maybe not the diaper part. But what’s a little poop after 2021?
Let’s all be looking at life like a baby. And if you’re thinking, “I was with you until the diaper part, Emil,” OK, I hear you. So you take your past and learn from it. Don’t dwell. Use the past to build back better. No matter what Joe Manchin thinks.
I was going to do a year in review kind of column. But you can go over all my posts on AALDEF’s website and pick out your favorites.
Among my favorites is where I give the model apology for the model minority. What a proper apology sounds like when we’re slurred. If you haven’t noticed, we get slurred a lot lately. Perps need to know what a good apology sounds like. (“If you slur an Asian or Asian American like baseball’s Jack Morris, here’s your ‘model apology,” Aug. 20)
This was also the year of Shohei Ohtani, an Asian in America who was simply the best player in Major League Baseball. Even he was attacked. (“Ohtani attacks make Stephen A. Smith the modern-day Al Campanis," July 13)
And who can forget Suni Lee’s gold medal performances at the Tokyo Olympics? (“Simone Biles is back but let’s not forget Suni Lee’s gold medal stereotype busting,” (Aug. 2)
But all of those stories have elements that go back to the really big AAPI story in 2021.
Yes, there have been more than 800,000 deaths in the U.S. due to Covid, including the passing of Corky Lee, the beloved AAPI community photographer who died last January before vaccines arrived.
But more than the Covid deaths, thanks to a scapegoating former president, we have also had more than 10,000 instances of hate toward Asian Americans since the pandemic began. And it includes extreme violence and death that are more than just a coincidence. There is real hate.
It wasn’t until last March that awareness really spiked. That’s when six Korean American women were gunned down in the Atlanta Spa murders, and suddenly the world noticed us. (“Atlanta, an Asian American awakening–not just for us, but for the rest of America too," (March 19); “Shooting deaths in Atlanta highlight Asian American fears as hate incidents near 4,000 cases,"
(March 17); “Atlanta plea deal no surprise–it’s hard to get justice if you’re Asian American, (July 28))
Robert Aaron Long has already been convicted of killing two Asian Americans in Cherokee County. He will be tried for killing four of the six Asian Americans in Fulton County on April 19. The prosecutor there has said she will pursue these acts as hate crimes.
So 2022 will present a challenge for us all. Not only will we deal with Atlanta, it will also be the 40th anniversary of the death of Vincent Chin. (“Juneteenth and Vincent Chin’s June 19th," (June 18).
How do we deal with our anger and our rage as a community? How will we commemorate the single hate crime that is responsible for galvanizing a generation of Asian American activists?
If we are this year’s New Year’s baby, it’s simple. We can grow. Leave behind the past and begin anew. Transform. And move our Asian American community forward.
That’s the opportunity in 2022.
Last week I wrote about the grace of the Urtula family. When dealing with their son’s ex-girlfriend, who prosecutors say badgered him via text to commit suicide in 2019, the Urtulas did something extraordinary.
They showed love and forgiveness, a radical compassion toward their son’s Korean American ex-girlfriend, allowing her a plea deal to avoid possible prison time.
In turn, the Urtulas got more than it gave. Their act of forgiveness became an act of self-compassion and love that spared them further grief in the present. The only moment that counts now.
That’s the grace that comes when you make peace with the past.
These are our challenges in 2022.
We can overcome them with ease if we rebirth ourselves and ring in 2022 as the New Year’s baby.
I will be talking about this piece and going over all the stories of 2021 on Emil Amok’s Takeout, Show 213. Listen live on my Emil Guillermo channel on YouTube, on Facebook Live (or on emilguillermo.media), on Twitter @emilamok, or recorded later on www.amok.com
This year, shall we make it one big maternity ward? Happy New Year to all of us New Year babies.