Another year has come and gone. A new year and a new decade are upon us. How appropriate a time then to pause and reflect upon our lives and our achievements, shortcomings and dreams? As we embrace our friends on earth and remember friends above and as we think of these days and times gone by, we set new resolutions and goals for ourselves and our communities.

I resolve to learn how to take more time for myself, finding space for more friends, relaxation and leisure. Work is important, yes, but so is personal time for my own sanity and well-being. I resolve to finally kick that old, unhealthy smoking habit. It certainly won’t be the first time I’ve tried to quit, but I hear it gets easier with each attempt. I resolve to go back to school. It’s been tabled on my life’s agenda for far too long. Finally, I resolve to reinvest more time, thought and energy into my woefully neglected personal blog. Since starting work here more than two years ago, my internet home for personal commentary has gotten dusty and, at times, close to being boarded up.

I have resolutions, well-wishes and hopes for my community, as well. You see, New Year’s resolutions don’t have to be limited to individuals. Communities, organizations and businesses can set some new goals for themselves, too.

In my place here at Q-Notes, I resolve and will urge our staff to be even more involved in our community and be seen at more events, fundraisers or meetings. I resolve to feature more diverse and wide-ranging opinions, voices and perspectives in our news and entertainment coverage. Finally, I hope our forthcoming, New Year redesign — in both aesthetics and editorial direction — helps to move us forward and keep our content fresh and relevant to our readers.

For Charlotte’s LGBT community, I hope resolutions are made to be more outspoken and visible on the issues that impact us. As we continue to move forward with progressive policy decisions at the city and county level, I hope our community’s leadership takes a more public role in keeping our needs in the minds of local media and decisions-makers. In the New Year, I wish our local organizations — like MeckPAC, the Community Center, the Business Guild and so many others — successful membership and fundraising drives so that they might continue to serve our community and provide places for our advocacy, learning, development and friendship.

For Mecklenburg County’s voting citizens in Commissioner Bill James’ District 6, I hope they take just a moment to look deep into their hearts and ask the questions, “Does Bill really represent our voices and concerns? Does his hate-filled rhetoric match our district’s place as home to Charlotte’s ‘compassionate’ mega-churches?”

In Eastern North Carolina, I hope for continued movement at the local level. This year saw awakenings of a proud and visible LGBT/allied community in places like Greenville. I hope community members make resolutions to be more involved, vocal and active.

In the Triad, I wish continued success for groups like Triad Equality Alliance and Guilford Green Foundation and hope plans for an LGBT center in Winston-Salem are met with wide-ranging support from community members, arts visionaries and city leaders.

In the Triangle, I await the opening of a physical home for the area’s new LGBT Center of Raleigh and wish luck for Chapel Hill’s new openly gay mayor.

To our friends in the Blue Ridge, I wish you well on your continued endeavors as you mourn the loss and celebrate the life of Ira Schultz, a beloved leader in the Carolinas’ LGBT community.

At the statewide level, I wish for continued success for Equality North Carolina and its staff: Kay Flaminio, Shawn Long, Rebecca Mann and Ian Palmquist. I hope state legislative leaders continue to see the rightness in their decisions to stave off an anti-LGBT marriage amendment, and that they take more steps to treat all North Carolinians with equality, justice and dignity.

In South Carolina, I wish for more successes at local and state levels. Great strides have been taken in Columbia and Charleston. The Episcopal Diocese of Upper South Carolina recently elected a friendly bishop. Though, at times, it seems progress is painfully slow and tedious, positive steps are nonetheless being made in a state known far and wide for its history of prejudice and oppression.

The year behind us now was certainly one to remember. We saw our community and its needs highlighted in real political discourse, celebrated North Carolina’s passage of an LGBT-inclusive anti-bullying bill, met challenges head-on and learned how to live and work in a world shaken by financial and economic worries. As we enter 2010, and take hold of the new millennium’s second decade, I wish for all of us a bright and happy future with friends, family and loved ones.

Happy New Year, y’all.

Matt Comer

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.