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5 Women Share Their 2020 Themes That Will Define Their Year

The year you're after is yours, you just have to claim it.

Inspiration

It's something about nearing your 30s or experiencing a traumatizing event that really makes you question your life. If you're like me, you've probably been asking yourself questions like:

  • "Sis, what are you doing with your life?"
  • "Girl, are you truly living a life of purpose?"
  • "Are you really doing the work that you were put on this earth to do?

The older we get, living a purpose-filled life is more important than ever. Life is short, so it's critical that we are using every second of our life intentionally so that we are making the best of every minute, every year.

As we've begun this new decade, I've spent a lot of time meditating, trying to figure out what my purpose is, and how I want to tackle this new year and chapter of my life. In this moment of self-reflection, a few words repeatedly came to mind in different forms and different ways, and I've taken it as a sign to continue to meditate on those words as I'm living through my purpose this year.

Those words "faith and fight" is my theme that I hope will keep me pushing and will define my 2020. For me, I know that in order to live a fruitful life with endless blessings, I need to have enough faith to believe I can do it, and then enough fight in me to get the work done.

Recently, I connected with a few boss women from a variety of industries and they shared their word/theme of the year, and why it is their theme for 2020. Keep reading to get instantly inspired!

"MULTIPLY"

Courtesy of Liane Membis

Liane Membis

Founder, BAUCE Magazine and Web Developer

"Many people often pick the word 'growth' but I believe it's important to be intentionally clear about what form of growth you want to see in your life. Every year we 'grow'-- not just in the physical sense but mentally, spiritually, and emotionally as well. I spent the entire last decade growing. Last year, I did things for myself and my business that I didn't imagine I could do. I tested out new products and services, I hosted a women's conference and I did a Tedx Talk. I challenged myself to show the universe that I was ready for my season of multiplication. For me, choosing the word 'multiply' is me speaking boldly and standing confidently in faith to say, 'I am ready to leap, God-willing, into this next phase of success that is destined for me.' I am ready to multiply, or as the dictionary defines it, increase greatly.

"For 2020, my goal is to multiply my income, multiply my love for my partner, and multiply the communities of people that I serve and support. In doing so, I will have to be laser-focused, create boundaries, and be relentless in achieving my goals. But I know that my years of growth have prepared me for this upcoming season of multiplication."

“CLARITY”

Courtesy of Jamelia Donaldson

Jamelia Donaldson

CEO/Founder of TreasureTress

"Success in any area of life requires a clear understanding of the end goal/milestones, and the behaviors/habits which will need to be adopted in order to reach that goal. In any area of my life where I felt as though I wasn't reaching my full potential, I realized in 2019 it was because I was not entirely clear about my current position, where I wanted to be, and what it would take to get there. Clarity requires difficult conversations to take place, deep thought, deep work, changes in habit and intentional behaviors - all of which I know are recipes for creating the business and life I desire."

“FEARLESS”

Courtesy of Brittanie Jones

Brittanie Jones

Founder/Owner of Fineapple Vegan

"Within this past year, I've learned a lot about myself. Stepping out of my comfort zone and pushing through my health issues and anxiety has been THE HARDEST thing I've ever had to do, but it was necessary! I want to continue to grow and tear down every wall designed to hinder a young woman that looks like me. I want to change lives and make a difference. I will continue to be ME and completely FEARLESS!"

“FULLY COMMIT TO YOUR COMMITMENTS”

Courtesy of Moriah Marie

Moriah Marie aka "Mo Classified"

Radio Personality on k104fm

"The theme that will define my 2020 is 'fully commit to your commitments'. I know you probably read that and thought, 'If it's a commitment then obviously I'm committed.' But in all actuality, not quite. Looking back on 2019 and my life in general, I noticed that I'm such a forward-thinking person that a lot of times I don't sit still long enough to fully commit to things I have considered commitments, let alone sit still long enough to bask in the accomplishments received from things I once prayed for. I'm always worried about bringing the next big idea to life, or how to accomplish something new which in return results in me not dedicating my whole being to other ideas, relationships, and moments overall.

"So to fix that -- in 2020, I'm training my mind to fully dedicate myself to the present moment. Life goes by one moment at a time and if I'm giving my best to the present moment, then it will only create a lot of great moments. If I'm fully committed to the present moment, it will be impossible for me to be distracted by this 'perfect' future that I'm trying to create. As far as relationships, I plan to fully commit to being selfless and supportive and ensuring people feel the love that they know I have for them. As far as opportunities, I want to fully commit to giving 100% and not ever being okay with giving any less than that. As far as life goes, I plan to fully commit by leading with integrity in everything I do which will ensure I make good decisions, communicate properly, executing at the highest level, and adopting good habits that will only leave room for prosperity. I want to look back on 2020 and know I gave it my all. I want to look back on 2020 and be able to say I wholeheartedly committed to all of my commitments and be highly pleased with the fruits of my labor."

“CLARITY”

Courtesy of Sylvia Obell

Sylvia Obell

Host of #HellaOpinions at BuzzFeed

"It's hard to look at this year numerically without 20/20 vision coming to mind. It's been my prayer that this year brings clarity to my vision as I watch the seeds planted in the last decade grow. 2020 is the start of a new personal decade for me as well, I turn 30 in February. I'm ready for the experiences and lessons from my twenties to inform better decision-making and serve my best self in my thirties. The more in-tune I am with my inner voice and God, the clearer my purpose looks as I move forward in all facets of my life. Shooting shots with the precision of a sniper all decade long. Let the twenties roar on."

Queen, what is your theme or word for the year? Let us know by dropping a comment below or tweeting us and let us know! We're rooting for you!

Featured image courtesy of Jamelia Donaldson

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
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Featured image by Shutterstock

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