We are very close to putting 2021 behind us, but before we do, let’s take one last look back. I have to say, compiling this list during the Trump years felt much, much different than this year! What a welcome relief.
My list is all about the wins, bright spots of light that appeared throughout the year, accountability for people who needed it, plus some entries I received from my social media friends, and a sprinkling of my favorite editorial cartoons. Let’s take a look:
A hard fought campaign in Georgia ended with the AP calling both Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff the winners of their respective Senate races in Georgia, which gave control of the 50-50 Senate to the Democrats.
Despite the insurrection on January 6th, Joe Biden’s victory was certified by Congress in the wee hours of the morning.
Twitter and Facebook permanently banned Trump from their platforms.
On January 13th, the House (all the Democrats and 10 Republicans) impeached Donald Trump for inciting the insurrection.
The day of great relief — the Inauguration. Watch Trump leave the White House (start at 4:25 in). He, of course, left before the Inauguration.
The Inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. Need I say more? A new era ushered in thanks to the votes of over 81 million people.
The Inauguration had many wonderful moments, but this particular image of Bernie Sanders and his mittens enjoyed a good long life as a meme in 2021.
The U.S. formally rejoined the Paris Climate Agreement.
The House voted to strip Marjorie Taylor Greene from her committee assignments, following her use of social media to spread racism, conspiracy theories, and encouraging violence against Democrats.
Ted Cruz is discovered fleeing to Mexico during the massive power outage in Texas, giving birth to his new social media name, #CancunCruz.
The Senate confirmed Pete Buttigieg as the transportation secretary, making him the US’s first openly gay Cabinet secretary.
Congress passes, and Biden signs, the American Rescue Plan Act, designed to combat the COVID19 pandemic and tackle the human and economic impacts. Working families received $1,400, the Child Tax Credit and unemployment insurance was extended, and small businesses received help.
Evanston, Illinois, voted to become first US city to pay reparations to Black residents for past discriminations and effects of slavery, giving $400,000 to each household.
President Biden signed an executive order directing federal agencies to expand access to voter registration and election information.
Rep. Deb Haaland’s nomination to be the Secretary of Interior was approved by the Senate, making her the first Native American Cabinet secretary.
The estate of Dr. Seuss announced that six of the author’s books will no longer be published due to racist and offensive imagery.
Biden overturned Trump’s restrictions on transgender people serving in the armed forces.
A Minneapolis jury found former police officer Derek Chauvin guilty of murdering George Floyd. He was sentenced to 22.5 years in prison.
Manhattan district attorney’s office announced it will no longer prosecute prostitution, dismissing 914 open cases, part of growing movement to change approach to prostitution.
Biden pledges to cut US carbon emissions by 50-52% below 2005 levels by 2030.
The Environmental Protection Agency took its first significant step against climate change by announcing new limits on hydrofluorocarbons (-85% over 15 years).
F.D.A. authorized the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for 12-to-15-year-olds.
NBC said it would not televise the 2022 Golden Globes because of criticism of its lack of diversity.
Biden signed legislation officially establishing June 19 as Juneteenth National Independence Day, a federal holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States.
Biden suspended oil and gas leases in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, reversing Donald Trump’s decision.
Pulitzer Prizes awarded a special citation to Darnella Frazier for recording the murder of George Floyd.
In a 7-2 decision, the Supreme Court said that 18 states led by Texas did not have standing to bring a claim that had threatened the future of the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as ObamaCare.
Nancy Pelosi established the January 6th Committee. When she rejected two of Kevin McCarthy’s picks for the Committee (including Jim Jordan), he retaliated by pulling ALL of his picks. Pelosi then invited Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger (both Republicans) to join.
State of New York charged The Trump Organization and its chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg with tax fraud and grand larceny.
Largest-ever repatriation of 17,000 looted Iraqi antiquities returned to Baghdad, including items from Hobby Lobby’s Museum of the Bible.
Voting rights win: In New Hampshire, a strict voter residency law was struck down after the state Supreme Court found that it imposed “unreasonable burdens on the right to vote.”
Voting rights win: In Indiana, a federal court of appeals held that a state law that purged Indiana voters from registration rolls without following adequate notification procedures violated federal law.
Biden ended America’s longest-ever war of 20 years in Afghanistan, following the biggest airlift to evacuate people in our history.
The U.S. hits 70% of the population that has had at least one COVID-19 vaccination shot.
Kathy Hochul becomes the first female Governor of New York, replacing Andrew Cuomo after his resignation.
Voting rights win: Texas agreed to permanently offer simultaneous voter registration when an eligible voter renews or updates his or her driver’s licenses or ID cards online.
Whistleblower Frances Haugen delivered a trove of private Facebook research to federal law enforcement, which showed the company knew it was amplifying hate, misinformation and political unrest, even though they had claimed otherwise publicly.
One of the largest statues of Confederate commander Robert E. Lee was removed from its base in Richmond, Virginia’s capital.
California Governor Gavin Newsom decisively defeated an attempt to recall him from office, winning 62% of the vote.
The U.S. records lowest level of people living in poverty since records began in 1967 due to increase in government aid.
Pfizer announces they have developed a safe COVID-19 vaccine for 5-11 year olds.
The Economist finds the Biden Administration had cut the child poverty rate by over 40% due to the Child Tax Credit and other government policies.
The Department of Homeland Security ordered ICE to stop mass raids on immigrants’ workplaces.
The Democrats raised $13M more than the GOP for House races in the 3rd quarter of 2021.
Biden restored protections for 3 national monuments, including Bears Ears in Utah, reversing Trump orders.
Google and YouTube announced they would no longer allow climate deniers to monetize their content.
Jen Psaki vigorously defended Pete Buttigieg’s decision to take paternity leave after adopting newborn twins, replying to the Newsmax reporter by saying, “I think what you are getting at here is this question of whether men, parents, women should have paternity and maternity leave, and the answer is absolutely yes,”
Biden signed the historic $1T infrastructure bill to upgrade outdated roads, bridges, transit systems and more.
A jury in Georgia convicted three white defendants of murdering Ahmaud Arbery, a young Black man whom they confronted while he was jogging through the neighborhood.
A New York judge granted the motion to vacate the convictions of Muhammad A. Aziz and the late Khalil Islam for the 1965 assassination of Black nationalist and religious leader Malcolm X.
Former Trump aide Stephen Bannon turned himself in after being found in contempt of Congress by a federal grand jury, after refusing to comply with investigation into Jan 6.
Capitol rioter “QAnon Shaman” Jacob Chansley was sentenced to three years in prison by a federal court.
Stacey Abrams announced she is running for Georgia governor in 2022.
Rep. Devin Nunes resigned from Congress.
A jury found Minneapolis police officer Kim Potter, who said she confused her handgun for her Taser, guilty of manslaughter in the death of Daunte Wright.
Voting rights win: North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper (D) vetoed the GOP legislature’s bill to restrict mail-in ballots
Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers (D) vetoed 5 bills that aimed to restrict abortion access.
Under pressure to improve worker rights, Amazon reached a nationwide settlement with the National Labor Relations Board to allow its employees to freely organize.
Bloomberg reports that America’s economy improved more in Joe Biden’s first 12 months than any president during the past 50 years, citing exceptional returns in the S&P 500 Index, a reduction in the jobless rate, a surge in gross domestic product, and more.
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A very good year, indeed. Thanks for the recap.