Things we read, watched, listened to, and laughed at that carried us through last year

Human Impact Partners
8 min readJan 6, 2021

With 2020 behind us, and a long road to health equity ahead, HIP staff reflect on a few of the things that moved us and got us through last year.

By Human Impact Partners Staff

We weren’t sorry to say farewell to 2020. But we are thankful for the many messages and beacons of hope that guided us through.

Shortly before the New Year, HIP staff gathered together (virtually) to reflect on the year coming to a close, to appreciate one another for the our mutual care, love, and work, and to set our intentions for advancing health equity in the time ahead. As part of that reflection, we each shared some of the things that inspired, moved, and got us through 2020.

This period has been, for so many, the most trying of our lives. But throughout 2020, there were also so many beacons and rays of hope that carried us forward. Below are just a few of the many texts, songs, podcasts, images, and movement messages that informed our transformational vision for health equity, along with notes from our team on how they lifted us up along the way. We hope they’ll bring you strength in the year ahead, too.

Read — articles, blogs, books, posts, prayers

Illustration by Nicholas Konrad; via NYTimes, “Yes, We Mean Literally Abolish the Police”
  • ‘The mom shame is so real’: There’s no way to win in the pandemicThis blog post was shared among parents at HIP as a way to commiserate on the challenges of 2020, give each other some comfort, and keep making explicit the inequities of how our systems are set up for work, caregiving, and mental health.
  • The Injustice of Inequitable DiseaseI found myself linking to Dr. Rhea Boyd’s Congressional Written Testimony from this June 2020 briefing before the US Congress on addressing racial health inequities amid the COVID-19 pandemic again and again over the past 6 months. Boyd so clearly lays out the structural roots and current manifestations of systemic racism and health inequities amidst the pandemic.
  • See No StrangerThis book by Valarie Kaur: “At once an urgent manifesto and a dramatic memoir of awakening, this is the story of revolutionary love — a radical and joyful practice to heal ourselves and transform the world around us.” — Yes.
  • The Fifth Sacred ThingThis science fiction novel, published in1993 by Starhawk, about a post-ecological apocalypse utopia/dystopia in California. It provides a vision of a society that rebuilds itself past capitalism, racism, misogyny, and separation from each other and the earth. It is prescient and provided me with a lot of hope, wonder, and vision for what could be to hold me through this year.
adrienne maree brown in a still from Dori Midnight’s Queer Morning Blessings / Birkot Hashachar
  • Queer Morning Blessings / Birkot Hashachar(Watch/Listen/Read) Grateful for this liberatory re-translating, re-working, and re-weaving of the traditional Jewish prayer to transition from sleep to waking from Dori Midnight. I need liberatory prayer more than ever these days.
  • Browse: Sunrise Movement’s WorkI’m grateful for Sunrise Movement’s work to engage young people in activism on climate justice, with an anti-racist, anti-capitalist, social justice frame and solutions, and provide “Sunrise School” political education when young people were stuck at home. Thousands of high school and middle schoolers became politicized, learned how to organize, and helped to elect progressive candidates across the US.

Listen — podcasts, radio, music, meditations

  • Find the OutsidePodcast about facilitating with equity at center. Many episodes have helped my husband and I have multiple conversations about equity in our very different professional worlds, and in our family life.
  • White Supremacy, Woke Fundamentalism, and Evolutionary Allyship with Gibrán RiveraThis New Republic of the Heart podcast episode looks at belonging and community as the first steps in our journey toward individual and collective healing, going beyond “woke” fundamentalism, and reclaiming our ancestors’ legacies.
Terry Patten’s State of Emergence — New Republic of the Heart Podcast
  • Nice White Parents This podcast tells the story of school segregation and the role of White parents influencing school policy — both knowingly and unknowingly. Amazing storytelling that fits with the school district activism that I do and what we’re collectively up against if we want schools to actually meet the needs of kids of color.
  • Being the Medicine for One Another with Tuesday Ryan-HartNew Republic of the Heart Podcast episode explores the trauma, care, tenderness, and sacredness grounding discussions of equity and systemic injustice and how various skills, practices, and an ethos of grace can guide our complex work together.
  • Dare to Lead with Brené BrownInspiring and guiding podcast on leadership — the December 7, 2020 episode with Obama on Leadership, Family, and Service in particular!
DJ D-Nice’s live broadcasts on Instagram @Dnice
  • D-Nice’s live sets on Instagram @dnice Legendary dee-jay D-Nice, who was part of KRS-One and the Boogie Down productions crew in the 80’s and 90’s, has been playing live music sets on Instagram through COVID-19. This moved me to no end, and has brought much-needed relief to my life every weekend.
  • Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!This NPR show for a weekly dose of news…plus some laughter!
  • Meditation: Rachel RickettsThis 10 minute meditation is about grounding ourselves and exploring emotions in the context of the larger work of advancing racial justice. I listen to it about once every 10 days.

Watch — webinars, clips, Tik Toks, music videos

@sahdisimone talks through how to sit with difficult emotions via Tik Tok
  • Tik Tok: @Sahdsimone on being with emotion This Tik Tok walks folks through how to process an emotion through the body, and connects to how we at HIP discuss head-and-heart integration, which is required to address racial justice in public health practice.
  • Let My People Go(Watch/Listen) Friends of mine made this music video in April as part of the Let My People Go campaign, an effort to bail people out of jail and immigration detention and to demand that New York Governor Cuomo and New York City Mayor de Blasio #FreeThemAll. This came out in time for Passover and weaves together the Passover themes of freedom and liberation with action, music, and social justice — all of which are central to my personal Jewish identity.
  • We Keep Each Other Safe: Mutual Aid for Survival and SolidarityMutual aid, including talks and conversations like this webinar panel, and all the ways I’ve seen people showing up for each other to meet basic needs, create safety and health together, and stay connected in community.
Still from “We Keep Each Other Safe: Mutual Aid for Survival and Solidarity” — recording on YouTube
  • Video clip from @TheAthleticMLBOn August 26, 2020, the Milwaukee Bucks decided not to take the court for their playoff game, protesting against the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Over the next few hours, team after team across professional sports made the decision to join the strike and refuse to play. While baseball and the world of sports in general has a long way to go in joining the struggle for Black liberation, this video moved me as an important starting point.
  • Video clips and more from @Moms4Housing(Watch/read/learn) Moms for Housing’s incredible organizing and power to reclaim homes for the community from speculators and profiteers — the reclaiming, the mass community defense mobilization in January 2020, the land trust victory — everything!

View—images, demonstrations, photos, graphics, art

View from the East Bay, courtesy of our very own Shannon Tracey
  • Photo (at left) Bay view Being offline is my best salve.
  • Zones of Regulation from Teachers Pay TeachersWe’re trying to use this daily to talk about our emotions as a family, noticing when we are getting emotionally dysregulated and need to take time out — which has been particularly helpful with COVID-19, moving, online schooling, etc.
“Three Girls” by Amrita Sher-Gil, 1935
  • Artist Taqi Spateen’s George Floyd mural on the Israeli Separation Wall During the uprisings for Black liberation this summer, I was deeply moved by all the displays of international solidarity, from people fighting for justice and liberation throughout the world. This piece, painted by a Palestinian artist on the separation wall in the occupied West Bank, felt particularly powerful.
  • Art Slideshow (image at left)Exploring art as healing and joy. This slideshow includes examples of art by BIPOC women, it’s not as extensive as I’d like yet, but it’s a start!

LOLs — we really needed these

Motherhood was a big part of my year — this meme from @babysleep.answers resonates!
  • All the MEMES!Humor is essential, always and especially during hard times. There are too many to include — but I think this one will resonate with public health folks, especially.
  • Would-You-Rathers for Parents During QuarantineMcSweeney’s for humor-reflecting-reality.

And finally, a quote:

“Your joy can fill you only as deeply as your sorrow has carved you.” —Kahlil Gibran

We know that the year ahead will call us to work harder and smarter than ever to realize our shared vision of collective health. We’re ready to continue the work to transform our field, and we feel so much gratitude and love to be in movement with all of you. And we want to know what’s inspired, moved, and resonated with you over this past year! Share the messages that carried you at or tweet us at @HumanImpact_HIP 💚

Human Impact Partners transforms the field of public health to center equity and builds collective power with social justice movements.

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