Neidy, Co-founder

As we look back at this year, all we can say is, what the f*ck 2020. This year has been a never-ending rollercoaster. When you think you are approaching the end of the ride, it switches on you and BAM around and around you go. When will it stop? Who knows. 

But in reflecting on this year, we also have to be thankful for the small wins we’ve gained. The biggest one for us — heck starting Slice of Culture. It started with two gals and it has now branched out to a team of more than 10. Not to mention our lovely supportive followers and readers. 

You don’t know how much a like, share or comment on our website and social media accounts means to us. We were losing sight of who we were and what we wanted to do in this life and Slice of Culture gave us purpose again.

Serving our community has been one of the greatest things to come out of 2020. And we hope to keep doing it as much as you all allow us to. 

We wanted to reflect on this past year and hopefully inspire you to do the same. Reflect on your wins, your losses, your highs and your lows. We owe ourselves to do that at the very least, especially as we approach the new year. 

Alexis, Staff Writer 

Alexis in Vietnam. 

Like many I had high hopes for 2020 – and why wouldn’t I? I started the year off cheers-ing with my very best friends and listening to great music.

Then the next day I was off to Vietnam with a group of amazing people for a 12-day study abroad course through my University from which when I returned, I would finally get to meet my 3-month-old nephew, Jonah, who was visiting with his moms from Idaho. 

But then my plans to make the most of my last semester in college with my friends took a backseat – to say the least. 2020 had other plans…

And it has been rough. There’s no denying it. 

The COVID-19 pandemic set us on a different course that no one could have anticipated. 

The abrupt switch to remote learning and working from home was a tough adjustment. 

For some, it created an eerie silence as they spent more and more time alone while others prayed for a moment of peace amidst the noise in their homes.

Outside of our houses, the roar of people arguing for the gyms to be opened seemed to almost be louder than the cries of people actively fighting for their lives, isolated in hospital beds and on the streets protesting.

What was initially differences of opinion, became bold lines drawn in the sand as people were forced to realize you can’t disagree on human rights.

But that being said, there was some good to come out of 2020. 

Couples were getting engaged, people were having virtual commencement ceremonies and birthday celebrations, the cozy nights at home watching movies, efforts to reconnect with old friends and to connect with ourselves.

In lockdown, I tried new things. I baked bread, binged new shows, tie-dyed a few sweatshirts and learned some Tik Toks. 

I also reflected. 

While this pandemic has certainly not been easy for me, I am fortunate in the sense that I have not lost any loved ones to the virus or other forms of brutality that have made their presence known. 

We need to do better, as a generation, as a country, as a world.

Ed, Staff Writer 

The main takeaway I have gotten so far this year is that I have white hairs in my beard that now hold permanent real estate on my face.

Politically, I would say that if 2016 was a political awakening for young people then 2020 would be an awakening for social activism and possibly civic engagement. 

This year has shown the long-running institutional inequalities that have been rooted in this country since its genesis and how disproportionately it affects people of color.

The protest during the summer was a revelation to a lot of people and it unveiled that the United States has huge Socio-Economic issues that are deeply embedded in the fabric of this country.

The United States has graduate school level race and social class dilemmas and the vast majority of its citizens only have an elementary understanding of race and class. A lot of people were trying to play catch up during the protests and their prior negligence in educating themselves on the issues showed themselves (I’m looking at you celebrities who don’t read.)

“Of all the weapons you fight with, your silence is the most violent! Neidy Gutierrez / SoCul Images

Those who are not interested in politics and rely on the common crutches of, “It’s not my thing” or “I’m not really interested in politics” were hit with a hard dose of reality this year. Ignoring a subject that infiltrates most aspects of our lives does not change the impact it has on you.  If you pay taxes, take medicine, buy food, you’re involved in politics.

As said before, the George Floyd Protests opened the eyes of a tremendous amount of people.  A black man narrating his own death on camera while being murdered by a police officer coupled with the fact that Americans were locked in their homes for months was a recipe for a fallout among the citizenry demanding our institutions be better. 

I knew the protests had a profound effect when I and other black friends would talk about the phenomena of our white friends calling in to check up on us to see how we’re doing. I appreciate the sentiment but man it’s weird when people are asking how is my blackness treating me today!

We have been in the middle of a pandemic for 9 months and counting with more than 340,000 deaths because of a virus. We have had elected leaders lie and downplay the threat of the virus to the public while telling their donors the opposite. These people are also the first ones with access to the vaccine — I’m looking at you Republican party members Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue.

Also, does anyone else remember when we almost had World War 3 at the beginning of the year? Anyone?

We had a Presidential election with the highest voter turnout in 120 years in the middle of a pandemic (Good Job America).

What was on the line that created such a high turnout, you may ask? Possibly the soul and future of this country. 

But hey, the NBA bubble basketball was phenomenal. However, the NFC East is the worst division in football. 

The year started out well for me with a trip to the other side of the world. But sadly, I haven’t been able to travel as much since then.

Adrienne, Co-founder

2020 was an eye-opener. A rough, aggressive, painful eye-opener.

There was a lot of pain, doubt and uncertainty. On a personal level, the death of my close friend’s father — who was a cherished Jersey City police officer — still hurts me, but it’s nothing compared to what my friend went through and is going through. His father died of COVID-19. 

Some people’s stubbornness and refusal to recognize COVID-19 for the deadly, infectious disease it is is disgusting and heartbreaking. For too many, they really will never understand the hurt until it personally affects them. 

Please, do not be one of those people. Wear your damn masks and sanitize, or just stay the f*ck home if you can. I would like a summer in 2021 and spend it in Atlantic City, thanks.

But, on top of that, and on a much more serious note, the virus isn’t the only source of innocent lives being taken away.

Black Lives Matter. 

And no, I’m not saying only Black lives matter, I’m saying Black lives matter too. And everyone who says this means the same thing.

I could talk about this for days (if you’d like to conversate, my DMs are open) but, to sum it up, let’s put it this way: Racists aren’t born racist, they’re taught. 

“Racism is a pandemic too.” Protests in Union City, NJ. Neidy Gutierrez / SoCul Images 

Dissipate the disgusting old-school mindset that lighter skin equates to more human rights. Also, realize that people are heavily influenced by the environment around them; if they are surrounded by drugs and violence, drugs and violence will be all they know until taught otherwise; if they are surrounded by wealth and luxury, wealth and luxury will be all they know until taught otherwise.

I’ve realized how ignorant it is to think that we are all born on the same playing field; to think that we are all born with equal rights. Ideally and technically, yes, we all should be born with equal human rights regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identification and more, but that in reality is not the case. 

I don’t know if there’s a solution to this and I don’t know if there’s some way or somewhere we can all meet in the middle and compromise with each other, but it’s crucial to first recognize the flaws in our society and in our system. 

The system isn’t working. 

I don’t know if we’ll ever find the solution, but I pray that 2020 leads us onto a path of finding one.

Jason, Staff Writer 

This year has motivated me further to live in the moment and be thankful for the things you have in the present.

With COVID shutting everything down so abruptly, I learned to really appreciate the little things in my life, like having breakfast with my friends at school. It really hit me when during some points of quarantine I realized that I really missed the feeling of just being bored in the classroom. Knowing that everything could be taken away from me in an instant, I’ve learned and plan to continue to appreciate every bit of my life. 

This year, definitely because of the Black Lives Matter protests, I’m more politically aware than ever before and I’m more inspired to take action. I’ve tried to educate myself on topics that I wouldn’t have last year and I’m happy to say that I’m gaining a political identity.

I have a good idea of people I support, policies I support, policies I don’t support and just agendas that I can align with. This is only the start though and I plan to go deeper because it also genuinely interests me. For 2021, I definitely want to learn about other issues outside of the U.S. and problems in other communities. 

I feel like everyone can agree that quarantine has taken a toll on our mental health. It’s taken a toll on my own, my friends and family. I know so many people who have been affected in severe ways.

Now more than ever, it’s important to check up on those you care about. So many people can be suffering behind closed doors and I think many people underestimate that.

Mental health is an issue that affects all people, COVID has shown me further why we should take it so seriously. 

I’ve learned how beneficial it can be to keep a schedule and have some sort of idea of what your day is going to look like. This is something that I’m still struggling with, but when I do execute it, it makes my day a lot better.

I’ve found myself so many times this year doing things that were wasting my time and it was a cycle. I found myself endlessly doing the pointless things over and over and it really opened my eyes to how much time I really waste in a day. On days where I had a schedule, things went as planned and I was much happier.

I hope to try and continue to plan my days out, but that isn’t always the easiest and I’m not always motivated. 

As a teenager, I think I speak for a lot of my peers when I say that we’re way too caught up in our devices. I realized this even further this year. Because of quarantine, I was on my phone a lot more. Sometimes I look at my screentime stats and I question what am I even doing with my time.

Being on social media too much not only disconnects you from reality but takes a massive toll on your mental health. What really helped me was watching a Netflix documentary called the Social Dilemma. I hate how much I’m on the phone because I know I could be reading or just doing something that benefits me more,  so in 2021 I plan to do just that.

I don’t think it’ll be easy, but I’m going to give it my best shot. 

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