2020: A Year In Review

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Emily Gott, Staff Writer

Disclaimer: The opinions and viewpoints expressed in the following article do not necessarily reflect those of NDP Gateway, Gateway staff, or Notre Dame Preparatory School.

Content warning: This article contains descriptions of police brutality.

On New Year’s Eve 2019, we were watching celebrations in New York City and around the world while waiting for the crystal ball to drop to ring in the new year. We all wanted 2020 to be an amazing year since it was the start of a new decade. 2020 was certainly an interesting year that none of us could have expected. We have witnessed so many new and scary things that we all hope to never happen again such as the Australian Wildfires, tense political situations, and everything in between. This year was definitely an emotional roller coaster that we are all hoping to never ride again.

During January and February, the year seemed to be progressing as per usual. Then, during the week of March 8, we found out that we were going to be out of school for two weeks due to COVID-19. Many thought that this would be a chance to relax and recharge without any school and a longer spring break, but weeks eventually turned into months. Students have missed out on cancelled traditions, such as graduation, dances, and other school activities. The pandemic changed everything. Masks were becoming the new regular. During the summer, we may have not been able to go on trips or vacations, or see family and friends. When the new school year came around, we weren’t sure what would happen. We started off the new school year through Zoom and eventually made it to a hybrid schedule with mask-wearing and social distancing. This had a notable effect on many people’s mental health, bringing new stressors and more isolation to everyone’s lives. The COVID-19 vaccine reached the United States around a month ago, with priority for healthcare workers and first responders. This vaccine gives many new hope for this coming year.

Between March and May, two lives were lost in murders that shook the nation. George Floyd and Breonna Taylor were both killed by police. Floyd was walking out of a store when the store clerk dialed 9-1-1 because he thought that Floyd had used a counterfeit bill. Derek Chauvin, a white police officer with the Minneapolis Police Department, knelt on Floyd’s neck for about nine and a half minutes, with Floyd repeating the words “I can’t breathe,” but the officer didn’t listen to him and didn’t stop applying pressure to his neck, killing Floyd. Breonna Taylor was killed by Louisville police officers during a raid in her apartment. There was an exchange of gun fire between her boyfriend and the police, during which she was fatally shot. These deaths caused a nationwide surge in the Black Lives Matter movement. Protests, both peaceful and violent, took cities by storm and called for justice. For ways to still support the Black Lives Matter Movement, you could sign petitions, donate, and educate yourself and others. Unfortunately, there is still so much racism in our world today, and we should all learn to treat everyone equally no matter what.

The presidential election was one of the most important events this year. On September 29, we had the first presidential debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden. The debate covered topics such as COVID-19, climate change, the economy, and more. There was also a vice presidential debate between Kamala Harris and Mike Pence. After all of the debates, it was time for Americans to cast their votes. Many opted to use mail-in-ballots instead of in-person voting due to COVID-19, delaying the results of the election. After a few days of waiting, it was announced that Biden won the popular vote, and the Electoral College certified the election December 14. America has its first female vice president of color, Kamala Harris. Woman were granted voting rights in 1920, and now, 100 years later, there will be a woman in the White House. All of the vice presidents have been white men, and having a woman of color take office is symbolic of progress in this country, though there is always more we need to change.

2020 had its ups and downs (many, many downs) that no one could have predicted, but we shouldn’t lose hope for 2021. If people become smarter with COVID-19 and wear their masks and social distance, respect people no matter skin color or ethnicity, and respect each other’s opinions and hope that America becomes more safe, 2021 could be a great year. Let’s change what we can and make 2021 fantastic.