The year 2022 was characterized by the rise of new power centers in politics, culture, and race. From the halls of Congress to the streets of major cities, influential figures emerged who commanded respect and admiration from their constituents. These lawmakers and luminaries weaved together a complex tapestry of change and progress that transformed the landscape of American society.
In Washington, D.C., politicians like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Nancy Pelosi, and Cory Booker led the charge for progressive policies, from climate change to healthcare reform to racial justice. Ocasio-Cortez emerged as a beacon of hope for the young, politically-engaged voters who want transformational change in American politics. Pelosi, the first female Speaker of the House, wielded her power with a level of skill and savvy that inspired awe among her colleagues-including her Republican counterparts. Booker, a former mayor of Newark, has been a relentless advocate for criminal justice reform and civil rights, carving out a space for himself as one of the most respected voices in the Senate.
In the cultural realm, figures like Ava Duvernay, Ta-Nehisi Coates, and Roxane Gay brought new perspectives and ideas to the forefront of the national conversation. Duvernay, the creator of the hit series “When They See Us,” used her platform to shine a spotlight on issues of racial injustice and police brutality. Coates, the author of the bestselling book “The Water Dancer,” brought a nuanced understanding of the complexity of black identity to his writing, challenging readers to rethink their assumptions about race and power. Gay, a prolific writer and commentator, used her work to shed light on sexism, body positivity, and other social issues that impact marginalized communities.
On the streets of America’s largest cities, activists like Bree Newsome, Deray Mckesson, and Tamika Mallory led the charge for social justice and equity. Newsome gained national attention for her daring act of civil disobedience when she scaled a flagpole to remove a Confederate flag from the South Carolina Statehouse. Mckesson, a leader in the Black Lives Matter movement, used his platform to advocate for systemic change in policing and criminal justice. Mallory, a co-founder of the Women’s March, worked tirelessly to empower women and underrepresented communities, often at great personal cost.
Together, these lawmakers and luminaries shaped the narrative of American politics, culture, and race in 2022. They challenged our assumptions about power and privilege, laid bare the injustices and inequalities that persist, and inspired a new generation of activists and leaders. While their work is far from finished, they represent a beacon of hope for a better future-a future where justice, equality, and dignity are the cornerstones of American society.