The 2020-21 school year was a long one — one for the books. Not only did this school year start off with the reality that we had been in a pandemic for close to six months at that time, but this year was also met major political and social justice events taking place both locally and nationally.
In late May of 2020, the world watched that cell phone recording in horror as George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, was murdered by now ex-officer Derek Chauvin of the Minneapolis Police Department. Closer to home, Carlos Adrian Ingram-Lopez was murdered by Tucson Police Department officers on April 21, 2020, but the incident was not made public until June 2020. In the light of both deaths, those in the Tucson community were outraged, hurt and disappointed.
In response to the public injustice enacted on Floyd and Ingram-Lopez, local groups in Tucson organized protests, marches and rallies to incite change, awareness and action.
The Coalition of Black Students and Allies held a rally and protest the first week of the school year “to decriminalize Black lives and affirm Black lives and narratives,” said Maryan Hassan, a member of COBA, via email to the Daily Wildcat earlier this school year.
According to an earlier news piece by the Wildcat, “Members of COBA said they started the organization because of the University of Arizona Police Department and the Tucson Police Department.” Members of the group explained during the rally held in late August last year, “We are here to prove that white supremacy and those that want us dead will not win.”
For the remainder of the fall semester, the fight for justice carried on throughout America while, simultaneously, we as a nation were approaching election day 2020.
During the craze of election season, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, died on Sept.18, 2020. She served on the court for close to 27 years and is regarded as a feminist icon.
With the death of Ginsburg, a seat on the supreme court was left open. Then-President Donald Trump nominated Amy Coney Barrett as the new Supreme Court Justice, and she was then confirmed on Oct. 27, 2020, and sworn in the same night at the White House.
The campaign trail looked a little different this election year because of the coronavirus. Both candidates, Joe Biden and Trump, had very different approaches to navigating the campaign trail amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
During October of this past fall, presidential campaigning picked up again for Biden after a break over the summer. Unlike Biden, Trump resumed campaign rallies over the country in the summer of 2020.
This election year, debates were socially distanced and masks were required. Biden's town halls were held outside and were able to be attended via car, similar to a drive-in movie, and Trump had his town halls outside on a set with a limited audience.
Election day was Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020. According to the Council on Foreign Relations, "more than 159 million Americans voted" in this past election, making it the highest voter turnout for any American election.
The race was called on Nov. 7, 2020, and Biden and Kamala Harris were named the presumptive winners of the 2020 election. The infamous “We did it, Joe.” said Vice President Harris rang in the victory to Americans across the country.
Arizona made history this election season as it had flipped to a blue state. For the second time in 68 years, Arizona had elected a democratic presidential candidate and, for the first time in 67 years, Arizona has two democratic senators.
After Nov. 3 voting wrapped up, the Georgia senate race results came in, and neither candidate received at least 50% of the votes. This final election tally resulted in a runoff for the state of Georgia.
The runoff was held Jan. 5, 2021 and resulted in Democrat Jon Ossoff and Democrat Raphael Warnock winning the Georgia senate seats making the senate break-even giving Harris the tie-breaking vote.
The next day following the Georgia runoff, Jan. 6, 2021, a joint congress session was taking place to confirm Biden as the 46th President of the United States. At the same time, Trump was giving a speech on the White House lawn and incited an insurrection of the U.S. Capitol building.
The Capitol building was stormed and breached by Trump supporters and white supremacists alike. The joint congressional session was brought to a halt as they sought safety during the siege and assault on the U.S. Capitol.
Fourteen days after the assault on the Capitol, Biden and Harris were sworn into office. History was made on Inauguration Day as Harris is the first-ever woman and woman of color to hold the position. This inauguration was like no other was it took place during the COVID-19 pandemic with social distancing and mask mandates in place for attendees.
Seven days after the insurrection of the U.S. Capitol building, the U.S. House of Representatives impeached Trump for a second time. One article of impeachment was adopted against Trump which was the article of incitement of insurrection.
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The second impeachment trial of Trump began Feb. 9, 2021. The trial concluded Feb. 13, 2021 and resulted in a 57-43 vote leading Trump to be acquitted of his charges.
Most currently, ex-officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of second-degree unintentional murder, third degree murder and second-degree manslaughter for the killing of George Floyd. This conviction comes as a relief to many who feared Chauvin, like many other officers, would not face consequences for murder of a Black person.
Unfortunately, the protests and trial have not ended the fight, as there were two more recent notable murders of 13-year-old Adam Toledo and 20-year-old Daunte Wright. Both Toledo and Wright were murdered at the hands of law enforcement, and both were unarmed at the time they were shot. The sanctioned violence must stop, and the murder of our children must stop.
This past school year has had tons of political and social justice-related news. Coming out of this school year, we as young people have witnessed so much history in such a short amount of time. I hope we take what we have learned and apply it to the years to come in hopes of a more safe and peaceful environment for us all.
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Geraldine (she/they) is a junior and is majoring in journalism. She likes to bake and read in her free time.