2016 was a truly remarkable year. At both home and abroad 2016 appeared to be dominated by a constant stream of political unrest, terrorist atrocities and the deaths of beloved musicians and actors. Although it would be easy, perhaps even understandable to adopt a cynical and weary approach as we enter the New Year, our social experiment proved that people from Boston and further afield who took part are resolute and optimistic.
The chalkboard we used to capture the publics hopes for 2017 is impressive in stature, standing at 8 feet tall and 4 feet wide. The different colored chalk and the different languages used, for example, Danish, Arabic, Mandarin and Turkish to name but a few, make the chalkboard an aesthetically pleasing, international piece of art, which will eventually be proudly hung in the IM Boston office.
Over the course of the morning we collected over 300 responses from the Boston public with an incredible 15 languages. One person hopes that the Detroit Lions win the Super Bowl, another, to make a million dollars and a high school student hopes to achieve an ‘A’ in Chemistry. These hopes are as valid as any that appear on the board. Who wouldn’t like a million dollars, their team to win the championship or an A in class?
There are however a few recurring hopes on the board, hopes that are universal, hopes that span many different countries and languages. Love, peace and understanding are three hopes that visually jump out at you.
The continual rise of social media and the countless options we have for real-time news means we are now, more than ever aware of what is happening around us. Sure, at times this advancement can prove to be overwhelming and disheartening as updates of grief or misfortune appear on our phones, but the participants who so generously shared their hopes with IM Boston remain positive for what 2017 has in store.
Love, peace and understanding, which we received in various languages, proves what we as a team already knew: the city of Boston is a melting pot. It also proves that although we may speak different languages and enjoy different cultures, human beings are intrinsically linked by their hopes for a world that demonstrates love, peace and understanding.
2016 was turbulent and arduous and will be remembered as that. However, it’s also worth remembering that good things happened in 2016. Taiwan elected its first female president in the form of Tsai Ing-wen, while Lisbon, the capital city of Portugal ran on renewable energy for 4.5 days. As we approach 2017, the team here at IM Boston are certain good times are coming. We are confident in this prediction from the positivity and fun generated by our social experiment and as one person wrote on our hope board: People are awesome!