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Life & Arts

Three Austinites On What Broke Their Hearts In 2020 And What They Did To Feel Better

Sam Grey Horse.jpg
Gabriel C. Pérez
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Sam Grey Horse on his small communal ranch near the Montopolis neighborhood. Grey Horse is known for riding horses through downtown Austin.

The year 2020 broke our hearts. COVID-19 killed hundreds of thousands in the U.S., millions lost their jobs and many thousands took to the streets to protest racial injustice.

We asked people in Austin to tell us what they grieved in 2020 and what they did to get through it. Here's what they had to say.

Yorkie Louie

Louie is Austin’s self-proclaimed “Godfather of Clubbing.”

Yorkie Louie dances at a club on Sixth Street in December 2019.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT
Louie dances at a club on Sixth Street in December 2019.

“In 2020 so many things caused me grief," he said. "But what stood out to me the most was the amount and explosion of division and racism in our country. … I can’t wait to say ‘bye, bye’ to 2020 and let’s go 2021.”

Yorkie Louie on grief

Sam Grey Horse

Grey Horse, or the “Sixth Street Cowboy,” rides mules through downtown Austin.

Grey Horse rides his mule dressed as Santa Claus.
Gabriel C. Pérez/KUT
Around Christmas, Grey Horse rides his mule dressed as Santa Claus.

“Go for a walk," he said. "Go by the river. Go hear the water running. Those are the simple things that are medicine. And that’s what I do. I go ride in the river with my mules.”

Sam Grey Horse on grief

Gracie Hopkins

Gracie Hopkins is a second grade teacher at Perez Elementary School in the Austin Independent School District.

Gracie Hopkins, a teacher at Perez Elementary School.
Gabriel C. Pérez/KUT
Like other teachers in Austin ISD, Hopkins had to adjust to remote teaching this year when schools closed. "I truly felt like I was no longer a teacher," she said.

"I was really experiencing a very sharp turn in my mood, and I felt like I was really grieving who I was as a person, like I lost who I was," she said. "I, like, wasn’t a teacher anymore. I was recording myself, taking videos of myself … talking to a computer. It was just not who I was."

Gracie Hopkins on grief

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