There is JOY in 2020

By Bianca Motley Broom


When we look back on 2020, I think we will all remember the weight of this year. From COVID-19 to economic disarray, with natural disasters arriving on our shores at a seemingly weekly pace, a nation grappling with its relationship with race and a presidential election that has polarized us and prompted thousands to march in the streets, this year has been one many of us will be happy to leave behind at the stroke of midnight on December 31st.


Nevertheless, there has been joy. And for that, I am grateful.


My parents and my 92 year-old grandmother have moved closer to me. In these times when some of the more experienced members of our human tribe have been most susceptible to the ravages of COVID-19, it is nice to know the people I cherish are nearby. While visits still have not been as frequent as I might want, I look forward to the time when we can gather together without fear.


Recently, my city held a socially-distanced outdoor classical music concert. I was so happy to have the opportunity to see my neighbors and when I closed my eyes while the musicians played a Shostakovich waltz, there was perfection in the moment. The night air was crisp, cool and comfortable. Since I had not seen a live music performance this year, the evening was even more special.


The weekend before Thanksgiving, my city was able to collaborate with a neighboring city and a corporate partner to host a food giveaway for hundreds of families. In a year where so many people have been impacted by unemployment, housing instability and food insecurity, it was great to be able to participate in an event that aimed to restore some semblance of normalcy – for at least one day – to families in our area. Holiday celebrations will be smaller for a lot of folks this year but being able to ensure our community members had the ability to have a celebration at all was special. 


After a hiatus of nearly six months, I was able to attend pottery classes again this fall. Things were different for certain: class rosters had been cut in half to accommodate for social distancing and open studio time had been eliminated altogether. Nevertheless, I had the space to create with community. It was not my most productive quarter, but I still have two teapots to show from the time. For the past eight years as a pottery student, I had not ventured into the teapot realm. There are many parts to such a vessel. In the past, I did not feel I had the technical capabilities to complete one. But somehow this year, in this moment, I was ready to take a chance on a more complicated form. Perhaps the risk did not seem as great in a time where so much has already been made uncertain. The best lesson from the experience was that I was indeed capable.


I think we are all capable – of finding it.


Those moments of bliss, contentment and peace during this chaotic time. We may have to look a little harder to find them but they are there. We have all endured a lot of loss and change in 2020. But we do have choices. We can choose to find what brings us joy and hold onto it with everything we have. Yesterday, the highlight for me was becoming Beyoncé’s (completely in tune) backup singer in the shower. It carried me through the rest of my day. I know those scenes exist in your life as well. Embrace them in a way that allows you to get through this year – and those ahead – with grace, gratitude and appreciation.




Mayor Bianca Motley Broom has been a full-time mediator at Miles since 2017. She was sworn in as the 27th mayor of College Park, Georgia in January 2020. She is the first African-American and the first woman to be elected as mayor in College Park. Mayor Motley Broom served as a part-time judge in the Magistrate Court of Fulton County from 2017-2019. Prior to her appointment to the bench, she was a Senior Trial Attorney at Allstate Insurance Company for nearly five years, defending the company’s insured in personal injury cases. Before joining Allstate, she was an associate at a national defense firm, practicing toxic tort litigation. She started her career as an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney in Cuyahoga County, Ohio. Mayor Motley Broom is a registered arbitrator, civil mediator and domestic relations mediator in Georgia.