This has been a historic year. The start of a new decade brought with it a global pandemic, wildfires and natural disasters spurred by climate change, a divisive presidential election and nationwide protests against racism and police brutality, to name a few. As 2021 draws near, Generation Next writers reflect on some of 2020’s most notable events.

June 2019-present: Hong Kong protests

The ongoing Hong Kong protests first erupted over the proposed 2019 extradition bill, which many believed threatened the autonomy of Hong Kong. Though the bill was first suspended indefinitely, protesters demanded it be withdrawn fully. Still, according to the BBC, when it was withdrawn, many believed it was “too little, too late.” Today, people continue to take to the streets to express their anger.

June 2019-May 2020: Australian bushfires

This Australian wildfire season was one of the worst wildfire disasters in modern history, according to a statement by Dermot O’Gorman, CEO of the World Wide Fund for Nature Australia. Billions of animals were affected and over 25 million acres were burned, forcing thousands of people to evacuate their homes.

Jan. 3: Assassination of Gen. Qassem Soleimani

Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani’s assassination in a U.S drone strike increased already strained tensions between Iran and the U.S and incited talk of World War III. Many high schoolers worried they might be drafted to fight a war.

Jan. 21: First COVID-19 case in the U.S.

On Jan. 21, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the first case of COVID-19 in the U.S., in Washington state. In just a few months, the number of cases in the U.S spread rapidly, and by May, the U.S. became the global epicenter of the pandemic.

Jan. 16-Feb. 5: Trump’s impeachment trial

President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial in the Senate ended with his acquittal on Feb 5. Impeachment proceedings had begun long before, though, when the House of Representatives voted Dec. 18, 2019, to impeach the 45th president for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

Feb. 23: Arbery murdered

Ahmaud Arbery, a 25 year-old Black man, was fatally shot in the back in Glynn County, Ga., by residents who said they suspected Arbery was a burglar. Arbery, who was unarmed, had been on a jog when he was killed. His death sparked global outrage. Civilians, celebrities and religious leaders called for justice and further investigation into the event.

March 11: WHO declares coronavirus pandemic

The World Health Organization declared COVID-19 to be a pandemic, noting its continued threat to all countries.

March 13: Schools begin to shut down

What started as an extended spring break for many students across the country quickly became an unprecedented transition to a school year spent on virtual platforms, such as Zoom and Google Meet. Many in the class of 2020 missed out on graduation and other end-of-year events, such as prom. Many schools, including those in Santa Fe, still have not returned to in-person learning.

March 16: Dow Jones experiences worst single-day drop

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 2,997.10 points, marking the worst single-day point drop in history and breaking the record that was set just four days prior.

April 28: COVID-19 cases hit 1 million in U.S.

At this time, a third of all global COVID-19 cases were attributed

to the U.S. This also represented a significant increase in cases from earlier in the month, when cases worldwide numbered around 1 million.

May 25: Floyd killed in custody of Minneapolis police

On allegations that George Floyd had used a counterfeit bill, police officers pinned the 46-year-old unarmed Black man to the ground for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, until he died. During his arrest, Floyd repeatedly said he couldn’t breathe.

May 26-present: Protests over Floyd’s killing

Following the death of George Floyd, the nation erupted in outrage. Protesters continue to take to the streets, lying on the ground and yelling “I can’t breathe.” Floyd and Arbery are just two of a large number of unarmed Black people who were killed this year.

Sept. 18: Justice Ginsburg dies

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, an associate justice of the Supreme Court, died after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. The justice often referred to as RBG was revolutionary, especially for her efforts to expand women’s rights, which she did in the face of gender discrimination. She successfully supported several landmark cases before the Supreme Court and was a woman of many firsts. She continues to be a source of inspiration to millions all over the world.

Oct. 12: Santa Fe obelisk comes down

Of local and national significance, the obelisk on the Santa Fe Plaza came tumbling down. Across the country, many historical markers have been torn down, as some of them are rooted in violence.

Nov. 3: U.S. presidential election

The presidential election between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden was one of the most memorable elections in American history for its historic voter turnout and unusual circumstances. Several days after Election Day, Biden became president-elect. This also secured Kamala Harris’ place as the first female vice president-elect and the first Black and South Asian vice president-elect.

Dec. 8: First COVID-19 vaccine administered

The year ended with a bit of hope that there might be some light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel. The first vaccine was administered to 90-year-old Margaret Keenan in England. Following Keenan’s vaccination, several other countries began the process of approving and administering the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. By Dec. 21, the New York Times reported, at least 556,000 people in the U.S. had received vaccinations for the virus.

— Compiled by Niveditha Bala, Ian Hernandez Rojas and Valeria Ramirez

Niveditha Bala is a senior at Mandela International Magnet School. Contact her at

Ian Jose Hernandez Rojas is a sophomore in The MASTERS Program. Contact him at

Valeria Ramirez is a sophomore at Santa Fe High. Contact her at

Compiled by Niveditha Bala, Ian Hernandez Rojas and Valeria Ramirez. 

Niveditha Bala is a senior at Mandela International Magnet School. Contact her at

Valeria Ramirez is a sophomore at Santa Fe High. Contact her at

Ian Jose Hernandez Rojas is a sophomore in The MASTERS Program. Contact him at

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