A Letter to Nashville at the End of 2020
Here we are, Nashville. We’ve made it to the end of our most challenging year.
I remember the feeling of New Year’s Day 2020. For me personally, it was the feeling of a fresh start unlike any other, after a decade of radical personal transformation. I rang it in at The 5 Spot. I had ordered the wrong wine — after enjoying a liiiiiittle bit of white wine at dinner, I mistook pinot noir for pinot grigio. “Dancing Queen” was blaring, and I’ll tell ya… it felt like an exciting and dynamic new chapter was beginning, right then and there. Life was good.
I don’t really need to tell you what has happened since. Surely, there is no shortage of recap articles making their way throughout the interwebz today, highlighting the tragic and bizarre events that our city has faced over the past 12 months — from devastating tornadoes, to a global pandemic, to the unrest in our streets, and an incomprehensible act of violence downtown on Christmas morning. I’m certain someone else has already done it for me, so I’ll try to minimize going into the dirty details of those events here.
Instead, let’s use today as an opportunity to talk about the character we’ve shown in surviving all of those events. Let’s acknowledge our resilience, and the strength we’ve shown each other. Let’s talk about the ways our community came together — from best friends to perfect strangers, and everyone in between — to clean up the tornado damage. Let’s remember the important conversations we’ve had, and the resulting looks in the mirror that have made us more understanding and aware of each other’s humanity. Let’s acknowledge the ways, as creative professionals and human beings, that we’ve had to adapt and pivot, through health concerns, changing restrictions, mental anguish, and emotional fatigue.
Let’s find a way to take all of those lessons, and carry each other forward into the future.
Surely, Nashville will never forget 2020. However, it is my hope that the extraordinary tests presented to our community over the past 12 months will yield new ways of thinking, doing, and being. I hope that we will take the inspiration from this powerful, transformative time to come back stronger than we’ve ever been, and to build a brighter and sustainable future rooted in all that we’ve learned.
Tonight, I hope that you have a chance to look back at the journey, and reflect on all we’ve thought, felt, and experienced together in 2020. While there are, without question, many difficult memories, there is also abundant reason for hope.
If we can survive this one, we can survive anything. And we will.
We love you, Nashville. Here’s to “Better Days” ahead!
Yours in Community,
Gerard T. Longo
Founder: Underground Music Collective