It’s been a little over seven months since many of us rang in 2020 with a glass of champagne in hand and eyes set on a hopeful future. But this year has proved more difficult than any in recent history, with the COVID-19 pandemic humbling the human race and global economy and mounting civil unrest in the face of systemic racism and police brutality against the Black community.
Following months of shelter-in-place orders, 135,000 deaths and more than 3 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States, the country is in varied stages of reopening, even as cases continue to surge. Some European countries that were ravaged by the virus early on are slowly recovering as cases rise in Latin America. Various areas of the world are seeing a resurgence of the virus. The future remains largely uncertain.
At the same time, racial tensions continue to heighten. On May 25, the world watched in horror a viral video of white police officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on the neck of George Floyd, a 45-year-old Black man, for almost nine minutes as Floyd gasped and begged for air until he died. His crime? Allegedly attempting to use a counterfeit $20 bill. This latest act of police brutality against Black lives sparked protests and riots across the U.S., demanding accountability and change — and, once and for all, acknowledgment that BLACK LIVES MATTER.
Many people have expressed a longing that things will finally “return to normal.” However, as Daniel Patrick Sheehan wrote in a June article for The Morning Call, “Normal … is part of the problem. When normal includes police killing civilians over misdemeanors and then tear-gassing protesters and the reporters covering the unrest; when normal includes a deadlocked government and bureaucracies caught flat-footed by a pandemic they were warned would happen sooner or later — well, then normal isn’t something we ought to want to return to at all.”
What can we learn from 2020?
Certainly that we as humans are more vulnerable than we may have liked to admit. But also perhaps that we are more agile, flexible, creative and resilient than we realized. People who never had the opportunity to work remotely have managed to do so while also taking care of their families and dealing with the stress of social isolation. Essential workers and those on the front lines have put on a brave face day after day and put themselves in harm’s way to carry out their jobs. Organizations and people across all industries have come up with creative solutions and ideas to continue to perform their operations, serve their customers and stay afloat in an economic crisis. The learning and development space has certainly been no exception. Over the coming months and years, we look forward to hearing how your team was able to react, pivot and continue providing the best learning and education opportunities to your workforce.
In the midst of these turbulent times, Chief Learning Officer is also undergoing some changes and honing our focus on how we develop and provide information and resources to the L&D community. As part of this effort, we will focus on expanding and improving our digital content, webinars and events for the future. On a bittersweet note, the recently published July/August issue of Chief Learning Officer magazine will be our final issue for the foreseeable future. However, we are excited about what the future of CLO holds, and we remain dedicated to serving as an important resource for the workforce learning and development industry.
We hope you enjoy the final issue of Chief Learning Officer magazine for 2020, and thank you to all of our wonderful readers, contributors and collaborators over the past 17 years. Whatever our “new normal” or our “next normal” ends up being, we look forward to continued investment in and dedication to the power and future of learning.