New Year’s Statement for 2021 from Jedi Path
2020 will be a year long remembered. While we may have made it out of 2020, there were very many that did not, and we must remember those that did not survive this year either through illness or violence.
And those were the themes this year for me, getting through the Coronavirus Pandemic, and seeing the continuing police violence in the United States and the response to it and systemic racism.
2021 will find itself with less public symbols of racism and hate, as well as new names for sports teams that had racist names. And while the removal of these symbols is a step in the right direction, we must work towards antiracist policy as the means to bring about real change.
So where do we go as Jedi in 2021? We must continue to work towards a more just and equitable society. We must train diligently to improve ourselves so that we in turn can improve the world. We must work at the task of unlearning our toxic and oppressive attitudes which hinder the path and our journey upon it.
Jedi should be a source of light in this dark world, and the world has seen a lot of darkness this preceding year. In this new year, I would like Jedi to commit to bringing the light of hope to those within their sphere of influence. The mythical Jedi wielded weapons of light, and I want to remind Jedi that when they fight in this new year (and there is sure to be battles that must be fought) to meet it with your own weapon of light, whatever form that may take, and to remain on the high ground. In the year ahead it is important to understand why we fight and how we do so. We fight to effect positive change in the world, and how we fight? Like Jedi, we must be guided in our battles by compassion and selflessness, understanding that we will fight for the betterment of others not for our own glory or ego or even our desire to win.
This past year has illustrated how connected we are, and that care for those around us is paramount. It is thinking of others that we do as we move about this world, recognizing that what we do affects all those around us and our choices affect the very health of our neighbors and communities. When we think of others, we will do what we can to lessen the spread of this disease, even while many thinking of themselves will threaten the health and safety of those around them.
Many of us had to isolate during the pandemic because of those in our community not being safe as COVID-19 tears through our communities, our nations, and the world. But even in isolation, we are connected. Many of us have turned to online connections for our social outlet. As I write this, because I am immunocompromised, I have not left my second story flat since March except to go to medical appointments and my daily walks with my dog. Yet I have done the work of community building here at Jedi Path Academy. Our Discord server has grown, as well as creating the Jedi Path Academy Learner’s Program and conducted classes in a medium many of us became familiar with during 2020, videoconferencing. We have grown our small YouTube channel. I feel connected to my community, though we cannot meet offline yet, there will be a time when our virtual gatherings will become offline gatherings once again.
So, I close out the year with hope. We can see things get better, and Jedi can be a part of that. The only way that 2021 will be better than 2020 is if we choose to make it so. And to do that, we must continue to strive to be Jedi of quality and be a light in the darkness, a beacon of hope in this increasingly darkening world, and we can bring back the light through the hard work of personal transformation, and leading others to do the same. This is the only world we have, and it is up to us to transform it. We may not finish the work, but we will continue to show up and do it for as long as we are able. I hope you will join me.
L. Christopher Bird
Founder, Jedi Path Academy