2020 has been a year of such intense upheaval and escalating tragedy that it has become a kind of temporal fall guy on which to pin the ills of the world, even if they existed before the pandemic and will continue after.
Casting 2020 as a cursed year has its therapeutic benefits, but it also overshadows the people who have tirelessly worked to solve intractable problems that emerged in the past 12 months, in addition to facing challenges with far deeper roots.
That’s why Motherboard is launching Humans of 2020, the latest iteration of a series that honors scientists, engineers, and visionaries who are changing the world for the better. As we approach the darkest days of this season (in the Northern Hemisphere, anyway), we will be publishing 20 profiles of humans who have illuminated their fields—and peoples’ lives.
The series will spotlight doctors and medical scientists from around the world who are confronting the most disastrous global health crisis in a century. It will highlight the fight for Black lives in a year that emblematized the casual cruelty of white supremacy and the catharsis of protest and solidarity. And it will share the stories of humans who defended essential services, reimagined our approach to the climate crisis, and pioneered new ways to explore the oceans, outer space, and our own genetic code.
2020 has been a rough ride. Unfortunately, our heartbreak will not end when it does. But we hope that Humans of 2020 will demonstrate the high watermark of ingenuity, bravery, and justice that we will all need to reach for in the years ahead.
Humans of the Year is a series about the people building a better future for everyone. Follow along here.