From the Director


New Year's Eve Ball, 1978. Photo: Courtesy of The New York Times.

So we have entered a “New” Year, or at least we say we have.  Saturday night, some of us may have even yelled it- “Happy New Year!”- right as a big flashy ball dropped in the midst of hordes of people gathered at one of the World’s greatest  alters to consumerism.  Do we ever consider the word “New” that we so whimsically place in front of the word “year”?  Do we truly believe that just because the stars, clocks and televisions tell us it is a “New” year that it really is?  What if 2012 goes just like 2011?  What if we live the same way, accept the same injustices and fight the same battles with the same strategies?  Then, inevitably we will have more of the same or we will have worse and yes, the worse will be New but I doubt when we say “New” we think worse, otherwise we would not insert the “Happy.”

We are told that “New” years are about losing weight, gaining muscle, saving more, etc. Though, truthfully, in order to really move forward we have to each take a systematic perspective.  We have to work for New ways of doing things, New ways that benefit everyone, and we have to create and institute New or Renewed strategies to reach these New systems.  We must strive for New ways of interacting with one another.  We have to Renew our demand for justice and basic human rights as well as our energy to reach these solutions.

Yes, we do have to put some focus on improving ourselves as individual human beings, but one of the greatest ways to improve individually is to actually improve as it relates to other human beings.  To improve the way we are toward one another, both on the micro level but also on the systematic level.  Are we willing to give of ourselves to reach justice?   We must become New systematically and New in our diligence to achieve justice.

I prefer that we not remove the quotations from “New” Year until we can say for sure that it actually was New.  That we acted with urgency, saw positive change and are steps further toward equal access than we were today.  Together with New passion, New faith, New energy and New relentlessness we can achieve a New Year.   Let’s reserve the time at the end of 2012 to celebrate the New Year we will create.