What happened in 2020


Jazmin Velenczei, Web Editor

2020 was a year full of world-shifting events, such as a deadly pandemic and global movements for racial justice. Here are some major events that happened last year in the timeline.

  1. In January, Australia faced one of its most devastating wildfire seasons as the blazes continued from December 2019 into the new year, burning a record 47 acres which displaced thousands of people, killed at least 34 people, and destroyed wildlife and natural habitats as well.
  2. Later in that month, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle resigned from the British royal family, announcing that they were stepping down as senior royals, and then moved to Canada which shocked not just the royal family, but also the country of Great Britain. By quitting the Royal family, they lost many privileges, such as travelling around the globe on behalf of the Queen, receiving money from the Sovereign Grant, and having an office at Buckingham Palace.
  3. On January 9, the World Health Organization announced that a deadly Coronavirus had emerged in Wuhan, China which later spread across the globe, infecting tens of millions of people. As a result of the pandemic, countries shut down all across the world, schools transferred into online learning, and unemployment rose. 
  4. Kobe Bryant, the legendary Los Angeles Lakers player was killed along with his daughter and seven others when their helicopter crashed in California, at the end of January. Commemorating Kobe Bryant, around 200 people gathered at the foot of the hill close to the crash, with many wearing Bryant’s jersey and holding basketballs, the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, lit up with images in tribute to Bryant and his daughter, and many memorials were created. Kobe Bryant and his daughter were buried in a private funeral in Pacific View Memorial Park.
  5. President Donald Trump was impeached by the House of Representatives on charges of abusement of power  and obstruction of Congress. It was the third impeachment trial of a U.S president, preceded by those of Andrew Johson and of Bill Clinton. Donald Trump later was acquitted by the Senate in February. Mitt Romney became the first U.S Senator in history to cast a vote to convict and remove a President of his own political party from office.
  6. 2020 also marks the first time a non-English-language movie, called the Parasite, won Best Picture at the Oscars. Parasite is a South-Korean black comedy thriller that follows members of a poor family who scheme to become employed by a wealthy family and infiltrate their household by posing as unrelated, highly qualified individuals. In addition to this, the film also took home the most awards that year.
  7. In February, Harvey Weinstein, the Hollywood kingmaker was convicted of raping and sexually abusing a TV and film production assistant, after eighty women in the film industry had accused him of such acts. After he had been found guilty of rape in the third degree and a criminal sexual act, his verdict, 23 years of imprisonment, was celebrated by many and also started the #MeToo movement where a great number of women shared their own experience of sexual assault, harassment, or rape, on social media.
  8. In the summer of 2020, the police-involved killings of George Floyd and Breanna Taylor sparked a wave of peaceful- and sometimes violent- demonstrations all around the United States. More protests erupted when Jacob Blake was shot in August in Wisconsin. As a result of this, the Black Lives Movement returned to national headlines and gained further international attention. BLM is a social movement that protests against incidents of police brutality and all racial motivated violence against African Americans.  An estimated 15 million to 26 million people participated in the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests in the United States, making it one of the largest movements in the country’s history.
  9. In August, Chadwick Boseman, also known as the Black Panther, died at the of 43 after a four-year battle with colon cancer. His death shocked fans since he had kept his diagnosis private and had never spoken publicly about it. Even during his treatment, involving multiple surgeries and chemotherapy, he had continued to work and completed for several films, including Marshall, Da 5 Bloods, Ma Rainey, and others.
  10. Starting in mid-August, deadly wildfires erupted from California to Washington state, burning millions of acres and displacing hundreds of thousands of Americans, making the largest wildfire season ever recorded in California’s modern history. Climate scientists state that climate change increases the temperature of wildfires in California, the risk for drought, and potentially also the frequency of such events, thus something has to be done, so this never happens again.
  11. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who had fought for gender equality, passed away in September. She was the second-ever woman and the first Jewish woman appointed to the high court. She was nominated by President Clinton and became part of the liberal wing of the court as the court shifted to the right over time. In recognition of what she had achieved, she was named one of the 100 most powerful women and was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame.
  12. At the end of the year, one of the most controversial elections in American history took place in the middle of a pandemic, where Joe Biden got elected. This election saw the highest voter turnout since 1900, with each of the two main tickets receiving more than 74 million votes. In addition, there were a record number of ballots cast early by mail due to the ongoing pandemic. As a result of the large number of mail-in ballots, some swing states saw delays in vote counting and reporting. Losing this election, Trump became the first U.S president since George H. W. Bush in 1992  to lose a bid for the second term, whereas Joe Biden’s vice president, Kamala Harris, will be the first black woman and the first Asian woman ever elected to this high position. 
  13. The German biotech company Biontech started its program “Lightspeed” to develop a vaccine against the new COVID-19 virus.  Several variants of the vaccine had been created in their laboratories, before Biontech received a US $135 million investment.  In December, after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration had approved the emergency use of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, the vaccination began in all states. Developing a vaccine in this short amount of time was marked as the greatest scientific achievement in U.S. history.