Noa Yolkut, Grade 10, Entertainment Editor
The year 2020 will go down in history as one of the worst years America has had to endure. Hundreds of thousands of Americans lost their lives to COVID-19, racial inequities were exposed due to repeated instances of police brutality, and the presidential election revealed deep political divides. In a year filled with so much turmoil, finding the light seemed impossible. But despite that, little moments shone through. Three moments in particular, although not life-altering, may brighten what seemed to be such an awful year.
A Giant Panda Surprise
Giant Pandas, native to Southwest China, have resided in the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington D.C. since 1972. Since 2000, Mei Xiang and Tian Tian have been the only two Giant Pandas at the zoo. On August 14, 2020, just a few months before the 20th anniversary of Mei Xiang and Tian Tian’s arrivals in America, an ultrasound revealed that Mei Xiang was pregnant after having been artificially inseminated towards the end of March. Although there was some worry that the panda would miscarry because of her old age, a baby panda was born on August 21, 2020. Six weeks after its birth, a genetic test determined that the panda was a male. And on November 23rd, the panda received a name: Xiao Qi Ji (which translates to “little miracle”). On the National Zoo’s Website, you can see the panda’s many milestones, like its first Halloween, or when it took its first steps on Thanksgiving.
A Round of Applause
Anyone in New York City remembers the fear felt during the first few months of the pandemic. Healthcare workers went without personal protective equipment, thousands died, many people were laid off or furloughed, and some could not put food on the table. New Yorkers may remember the 7 P.M. clapping ritual every night for months. At this time, clapping and clanging could be heard across the city, and eventually, everyone knew the applause was for the people saving and helping friends, family, and neighbors, and risking their own lives doing it — essential workers. It brought New Yorkers together like never before, ironically because of the distance between us.
A New Name
As of June 2020, at least 215 schools in 18 different states were named after Confederate leaders, even though the Confederacy lost the Civil War over 150 years ago. Renaming those schools and removing Confederate statues have only become major issues recently. In early 2020, a high school in Fairfax County, previously called “Robert E. Lee,” decided to rename their school after a person who more accurately reflects American values: Georgia Congressman John R. Lewis. Although he did a lot for Civil Rights in our country, some of the things Congressman Lewis was most well known for were chairing of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, helping lead a voting rights march in which protestors were brutally harmed by segregationists (known today as “Bloody Sunday”), helping convince President Johnson to sign the Voting Rights Act, and receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Barack Obama in 2011. Congressman Lewis died of pancreatic cancer on July 17, and the Fairfax school chose their name less than a week later.
In history books, 2020 will look awful. But history books do not mention the little moments that brought some needed brightness into the year.
2020 seemed awful, but is it still possible to find some light within it?
Artwork by Joey Li, Grade 11