Theme. It’s a constant topic of conversation in any English class you ever take. Its somewhat synonymous neighbour, “mission statement,” is a topic in business classes as well. Regardless of what perspective you are looking from, theme is a relevant idea in our culture. As we are now well into 2018, we can assess what our previous year seemed to be about, and look forward to altering, or emphatically continuing, the path we found ourselves travelling.
Last year, we saw the presidency of the controversial Donald Trump begin, and in response, saw a large community of women across the world band together against him and what he represents. We saw the “#MeToo” movement gain traction, and saw women all over the world begin to speak up against the sexist, the racist, and the demeaning.
Closer to home, we saw our community of Abbotsford come together over the tragic shooting of police officer John Davidson. The support raised was overwhelming, and an amazing testament to the people of Abbotsford, and the Lower Mainland as a whole.
In addition to the heart-rending events in our area, we also saw an upswing of local businesses coming together to work collaboratively, combining their artistic talents and passion for people together into various projects. Fieldhouse Brewing hosted events with local musicians, featured local farmers’ products, and joined forces with businesses in the area to create unique functions at their venue. Other places, such as Old Hand Coffee and Duft & Co., work together on a regular basis. And really, what goes better than good coffee and great desserts?
In my life personally, I began to become more involved with the neighbours I have lived beside for two years. I conversed with the women who live in townhouses next to me. We discussed their lives, their pets, and their families. I said “hi” to people I interacted with when getting my groceries, or at Starbucks when I grabbed my 2 p.m. pick-me-up. As an introvert, each of these interactions caused me some panic, I will admit, but I found that after I managed to conquer the initial “holy crap” panic, it became easier the second time.
2017 saw communities of people coming together in trying circumstances, but it also celebrated that the world is still filled with good people with big hearts. And with all the monstrosities of natural disasters, of shootings, of sexual harassment allegations, and other horrendous news that peppers our lives, it is refreshing to be reminded that there is still support to be found, and that there are still people who genuinely care.
So for 2018, which themes should continue? What should we see carry on? The Golden Globes, which kicked off this new year, seems to be a very good place to start. The “#MeToo” movement continues. We saw these women, clad in black, bringing women’s rights activists as their dates. We heard the speech from Oprah, saying that the “time is up” for the unfair and unethical way many women are treated, in both work and life. 2018 has started off on the strong, right foot of a movement that isn’t dying out anytime soon, and I think we should follow that lead.
I believe the theme of community, in its various forms, took 2017 by storm, and for 2018, I hope to see this theme continue. I hope that each of us can take a moment, between textbook chapters, part time jobs, and the long drive on Highway 1, to take a glance inward, and figure out how we too can participate in our community, in supporting the people around us, in becoming aware of the stories of the fellow humans we share the planet with, and even the fellow humans we share campus with. Get out of your comfort zone, get involved, find your voice — your story — and share it, because somebody else may need to hear it, and may need your support to continue to carry on.