It feels a little funny to talk about “best-of” moments this year, but if there’s anything 2020 has taught us, it’s the importance of celebrating our victorious moments and reflecting on the hard ones. We see this end-of-year edition as the time capsule of a year that is historic in so many ways. More than anything, it highlights the resilience and empathy of the region and the people we serve.
Feels were felt
America’s Got Talent finalist Benicio Bryant performed his song “Who I Am” on Art Zone and we melted. Give it a watch, we’ll see you in the fan club.
City leaders respond to fatal downtown shooting
Police and fire personnel responded in seconds to a downtown shooting on January 22 that left seven injured and one dead. As the city processed shock and grief, the mayor, police chief, and others expressed condolences, as well as determination to bring the perpetrators to justice.
We learned what our history books left out
How much do you know about investigative journalist, educator, and civil rights leader Ida B. Wells? KD Hall dug deeper into figures like Wells and her peers during the civil rights and women’s suffrage movements. Even with Wells’ tireless efforts on both fronts, it wasn’t till the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act that African Americans were granted the full right to vote.
Shon Abrahamson took “superfan” to a whole new level
Seattle’s always been loyal to hometown band Pearl Jam, but Shon Abrahamson‘s dedication to the musicians knows no limits. He’s got Eddie Vedder’s guitar, limited edition memorabilia, and more posters than we can count. Oh, and he’s on a first-name basis with the band.
COVID-19 pandemic arrives in Seattle
Gov. Jay Inslee and Mayor Jenny A. Durkan joined other local and national leaders in one of our state’s first addresses on the COVID-19 pandemic. Among other warnings and pleas for safety and responsibility, they explained how the military would deploy a field hospital at the CenturyLink Field Event Center to care for non-COVID-19 cases for which regular hospitals suddenly had no room.
City council worked from home
We may be used to (and tired of) video-call meetings now, but they started out as an interesting, if confusing novelty. Seattle City Council took to their screens for a briefing on the condition of the West Seattle Bridge following the announcement that the bridge was closing on March 23 due to structural cracking.
Workouts went virtual
Seattle Parks and Recreation absolutely smashed the online workout game with videos for their Lifelong Recreation program, like this one featuring instructor Suzanne Simmons with some Soul Line-Dancing. Lifelong Recreation also created videos to get us all moving with circuit training, line dancing, pilates, tai chi, yoga, and Zumba.
We thanked our frontline workers and started the hashtag #SeattleTogether
It simultaneously feels like yesterday and eons ago that we hung out our windows and proclaimed with music, voice, and kitchen utensils, how much we appreciate healthcare workers. We’re showing it in different ways now, but it made for many touching scenes and a sense of togetherness in a time of shocking isolation.
Masks became a creative outlet
Masking for a friend––how do you find joy in the little things? Crafty Seattleites got to stitching when we learned that masks help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and have the potential to put a (hidden) smile on our faces.
First responders put on a light show
Firefighters and other first responders got into a routine of weekly Friday Night Lights parades to connect with their communities. Some residents set up socially-distanced viewing spots outside their homes, and a few even got into costume to enjoy the “light show.”
Mayor Durkan and Chief Best discussed CHAZ and President Trump’s threats to Seattle
The murder of George Floyd sparked impassioned discussion about the state of inequality and policing in the United States. Mayor Jenny A. Durkan and then Police Chief Carmen Best addressed the East Precinct, CHAZ, and President Trump’s threats to the city in a socially-distanced press conference on June 11.
Art brought us together from a distance
Seattle streets transformed into a public art gallery when local artist used boarded up shops and restaurants as their canvasses. Murals and words of encouragement spanned from Ballard to Columbia City, and made all of us stop, stare, and smile — something we need now more than ever.
Grads walked the online stage
“We are not the class of COVID-19, we are the class of courage.” High school graduation is often bittersweet, but 2020 amplified that feeling. Seattle Public School seniors donned their regalia and tried their best to mark the occasion with a virtual ceremony broadcast to friends, family, and the community that supported them for so many years.
We got tested
“We all want to look back on this time and know we did everything we could.” Drive-thru testing became one of the most important actions we took (and continue to take) to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Free sites like this one not only determined whether someone had COVID-19, they also identified which neighborhoods needed more testing access, and provided a job opportunity for those who found themselves unemployed as a result of shutdowns.
Civic Cocktail explored policing, protests & education during pandemic
Interim Police Chief Adrian Diaz took over in the midst of a pandemic, nightly demonstrations, and increased shootings. Mothers for Police Accountability founder Rev. Harriet Walden brought decades of activist experience and historical context to her lessons on modern unrest. And Seattle Public Schools Superintendent Denise Juneau shared how a hero made sure 12,000 iPads got to students just in time for the start of online learning.
Open-air choreography brought smiles in summer
Whim W’him contemporary dance group not only adapted to social distancing, they made it beautiful. They performed choreographed routines on the move over a mile’s distance through various parks in the greater Seattle area.
We took a look at our budget
In the midst of isolation and loss, Mayor Jenny A. Durkan gave her annual budget address. She spoke to how the city is responding to COVID-19 and plans for the future, which include maintaining core services as much as possible in the middle of a dramatic deficit, and focusing funds on historically marginalized communities.
Diners stepped out
The name of the game this year is adaptation. It’s no secret that small businesses struggled to stay afloat through the chaos, but the saving grace for some came in the form of a Seattle Department of Transportation permit that allowed restaurants to take dining outdoors.
We recognized Indigenous Peoples’ Day online
Celebrations didn’t go by the wayside this year, they just went virtual. The City of Seattle’s Indigenous Peoples’ Day celebration was no different, and certainly no less powerful than the last. Singers, dancers, and speakers took to the screen to recognize this year’s theme; “Rise, Resist, Reclaim.”
Then, we voted
2020 was a year we soon won’t forget, even if we want to. It was unexpected, painful, and joyful. It tested us, and the final exam brought elections. We prepped you before the elections with our unfiltered video voter’s guide, and debriefed you in the exhausting, complex aftermath. We know you’re still processing. We are too. But no worries, we’ll be right here, finding answers and learning right along with you.