From the Publisher

Photo by MOD Media

It’s a beautiful 74-degree spring day. The sun’s out, the grass is greening and growing, and the birds are chirping and flittering in delight. I love this time of year. While some can’t understand why anyone would be willing to live through Wisconsin winters, I can’t imagine the feeling of a day like today would be as sweet without the invigoration that comes from spring’s rebirth.

In contrast to the feelings inspired by the season, I also feel despair as I keep an eye on the George Floyd murder trial. In a way, the rejuvenation of spring and the deep pain of the trial represent the times we live in.

Each time I sat to write something this past year it was difficult; what direction should I take my words? There were incredible moments of lightness and heavy moments of darkness, and all took my breath away. It’s a difficult balance to maintain—remaining positive and moving forward while at the same time feeling paralyzed by horrific events. I’m a believer that to create positive change, you need to be willing to see the bad as well as the good so you can determine the best path to take.

I’m encouraged by the rate of vaccinations and how we’re well ahead of where I imagined possible at this point. But the rampant disinformation that continues to be spread regarding the virus, vaccines, and science even as we surpassed 550,000 deaths is discouraging.

I was encouraged by the number of votes and, consequently, the number of voices heard in the November 2020 presidential election. But the efforts since to make the path to vote more difficult in the future with potential to exclude eligible voters is frustratingly discouraging.

The number of people speaking out, coming together, and acting on behalf of diversity, equity, justice, and inclusion efforts is very encouraging and long overdue. But the number of occurrences of hate-filled violence, actions, and spoken words stemming from intolerance, inequity, injustice, and exclusion remains heartbreakingly and numbingly discouraging.

While Madison Essentials has and will always present numerous feel-good stories of our community, we also want to make sure we highlight the tougher topics that need to be addressed and may also be sometimes controversial. We always want to be grateful for the good things we hold tight, but we also need to remain alert to understand what needs our attention so we can better enact changes to feed our world.

May the good always outweigh the bad in your corner of the world, and may you have the ability and strength to see where you are needed to make a needed difference.

Amy Johnson