Social justice activism made me believe, again, in God. It wasn’t necessarily the God of my childhood church, or the God of my grandmother — though this renewed belief comes with a greater affection for her Italian-American, Roman Catholic rosaries and prayer cards. Instead, it was the simple fact that, as I found myself returning again and again to situations that tested the limits of my strength, I craved a source of compassion greater than myself.
From spirituality to social justice, from a belief in the power of medicine to a fierce love of family, we all search for ways to make meaning in crisis. As 2020 ends, I want to reflect on these inner reserves we have been calling on during the pandemic, and on the deep wellspring of community that produces resilience and hope. I wanted to examine what motivates activists and frontline workers to persist in the belief that the world can be made better, even when so much evidence indicates that it can’t.
I touched base with some of the mental health workers and community organizers I interviewed this year for The Talkspace Voice. Here, you’ll find their meditations on hope and resilience interwoven with practical reflections on how you, too, can cultivate hope — this year and every year.