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Hope for 2021: St. Louisans Have Their Wish Lists Ready 

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Mayor Lyda Krewson. - DANNY WICENTOWSKI
  • DANNY WICENTOWSKI
  • Mayor Lyda Krewson.

Lyda Krewson

Mayor of St. Louis

Prior to COVID-19, the city of St. Louis was enjoying one of its strongest years on record with $10 billion of new development recently completed or under construction. That includes transformative projects like the new MLS stadium, the NGA West headquarters and many other important investments that are creating good-paying jobs and opportunities for our people.

Eventually, we will get through these dark days of the pandemic. That's why I remain incredibly optimistic and excited about the future of St. Louis. 2021 stands to be a year of hope, of listening to one another and of new beginnings. We'll have a new president with an administration that more strongly reflects our values and believes in science. More Americans and St. Louisans will be getting vaccinated against COVID-19. And I think you will continue to see more examples of extraordinary momentum that's already helping to propel St. Louis into the future and the national spotlight as a leading startup hub for entrepreneurs in the Midwest, for example.

But no doubt the past year has been extremely challenging for all of us in many different ways. As a community, we've confronted multiple interconnected crises all at once, including the pandemic, social unrest, a nationwide reckoning on race, and far too many lives have been taken from us by gun violence. In a new year, it's going to take folks from all walks of life, all neighborhoods and every background to commit to building consensus, working together and focusing on what unites us — instead of what divides us — to tackle these issues, help us recover and to heal.

No place is more resilient or prepared to meet this challenge than the city of St. Louis. I'm looking forward to what comes next and, personally, to have a little more time for long walks.

Alderman Bret Narayan. - COURTESY BRET NARAYAN
  • COURTESY BRET NARAYAN
  • Alderman Bret Narayan.

Bret Narayan

24th Ward Alderman

It's safe to say that 2020 sucked. However, similar to the story of the kid digging through the pile looking for the pony, there was a strange positive aspect to it: It sucked for everyone. As a result of just how preposterously bad 2020 was, it brought forward an unexpected emotion out of virtually everyone I know: gratitude. You never really know what you have until it's gone.

I'll never look at popping into the neighborhood bar and having a beer with a few friends and catching the local scuttlebutt the same. I'll never see being in the presence of family members and sharing a meal the same again. I'll never see holding a new member of the family the same. I'll never look at stopping by a friend's birthday party the same — or comforting a friend at a funeral. I'll never feel exactly the same way when the guitar solo rips at a live show or when the final curtain drops at a play. I definitely won't look at our fearless health-care workers, grocery store workers and others who toiled through this mess to ensure society continued to function the same way again.

My hope for 2021, as we settle back into a sense of normalcy, is for us to remember that we have far more in common than we have differences. I hope we keep up with our newfound hobbies. I hope we continue to look out for one another. I hope we continue to donate to food banks, plant community gardens and check on our neighbors. I hope we see 2020 for what it was: an unexpected chance at a new outlook on all the little things in life.

Really, what I'm saying is, I hope you all have the best 2021. After 2020, you deserve it!

Jenn DeRose. - ANDY PAULISSEN
  • ANDY PAULISSEN
  • Jenn DeRose.

Jenn DeRose

Director of sustainable business practices at Blackrock Consulting,Known & Grown STL manager

2020 showed us that structural change is possible, and can happen with shocking speed. This is contrary to my (frankly misanthropic) worldview, and means that there is hope that we can, as a society, take the meaningful action that is absolutely necessary to prevent the most disastrous impacts of climate change and eliminate the racial and economic disparities that plague our planet. I have new hope that we are capable of holding the powerful accountable for their share of emissions, worker exploitation and wanton habitat destruction. We are capable of making personal decisions that put less strain on the planet, that don't support slave labor, that lift up marginalized voices and that create strong communities. We are capable of changing the racist systems and wealth inequalities that have become so unavoidably, painfully clear during this pandemic. We are capable of creating a more resilient region by supporting one another — not just financially, buying food from local growers, wares from local makers and donating to mutual-aid networks, but by providing our talents, skills and emotional support to benefit the greater good. We are capable of tearing down the systems that have oppressed us and destroyed our planet, and we are capable of creating something new.

2021 is offering us a chance to be intentional about building the kind of world we want to live in — a smoldering, blistered hellscape or a verdant, equitable, resilient global community.

I am hopeful that we won't miss our chance.

Deanna Brown. - DOYLE MURPHY
  • DOYLE MURPHY
  • Deanna Brown.

Deanna Brown

Owner of Diffendoofer Daycare

I hope that 2021 will be the year we start to genuinely respect children. We give a lot of lip service to protecting childhood, but the reality is that children are the most marginalized group of people. Children are regularly denied basic human rights. When children are also marginalized because of things like skin color, nation of origin, sexuality, gender, physical, cognitive and emotional disabilities, our lack of respect for children is impossible to deny.

I hope 2021 will be the end of separating children from their parents at the border. I hope 2021 will be the end of children in cages. I hope 2021 will be the end of children in isolation rooms. I hope 2021 will be the year no children are killed by the police, their parents or their caregivers. I hope 2021 is the year everyone agrees that hitting children is wrong.

I hope 2021 will be the year we parents and caregivers choose connection over punishment to help our children learn and grow. I hope 2021 is the year children are able to exercise rights over their food, clothing choices, friendships and hairstyles. I hope 2021 is the year families and schools get the resources they need to thrive. I hope 2021 is the year the world recognizes the importance of saving the planet so today's children have a future.

I'm also hoping for a couple of good snow days.

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