When I launched 285 South five months ago, my hope was for it to be a space for immigrant stories that centered immigrants' perspectives. Why? So that those stories could play a role in celebrating and affirming the diversity here, as well as shed light on the inevitable struggles that come along with that. And, to help us see how our stories fit into the larger story of a changing South.
I've written 39 pieces in the last five months. I have barely scratched the surface of all that is here. And I know there is so much more to do, because many 285 South stories have already led to every day real life impact - the Safai family received halal meat after I published a story mentioning how it was hard for them to get it; people showed up to a Latinas Running event for the first time after reading about it in the newsletter; readers visited Plaza Fiesta after seeing this piece about the arepas there; another reader said they were going to Maomi bookstore to support them after reading about their pandemic struggles.
Looking into 2022, I can't say I'm not nervous. Life feels uncertain. But every day, I see love. Whether it's through the people I meet when reporting stories, or readers reaching out and asking how they can help, or family and friends in my immediate life carrying on with the simple tasks of living and caring for each other.
It's that time of year where we put our deepest wishes out into the universe, and hope/pray/cross our fingers that the universe hears them, and propels us in the right direction. In that spirit, I'm sharing the 2022 hopes of some of the people I've met since 285 South launched, who help make their communities, what they are: