In an unforgettable and rather unfortunate year, there was still plenty of things to be inspired by.
True, 2020 was less than ideal, to say the least. Many of us are ready to ring in the new year and leave this tumultuous 2020 behind. But as we all take time to reflect upon this grievous year, and of course acknowledge all the losses and heartache, we would also like to remember all of the good and uplifting things that happened this year in the Nation’s Capital.
From historic moments that marked a turning point in our history to kindhearted Washingtonians who went out of their way to help out their community, here are our top moments of 2020… what are yours?
When quarantine began to shut down all DC establishments earlier in March, local celebrity Chef José Andrés announced he would be turning some of his closed venues into community kitchens. All three Jaleo locations, Oyamel and Zaytinia began operating community kitchens through their side door providing meals for those who needed them during the quarantine.
2. DC Steakhouse Medium Rare delivered free, contactless meals to isolated elders all throughout quarantine.
Like Chef José Andrés, Mark Bucher, owner of Medium Rare, also set out to feed his local community. Earlier on March 12, Bucher tweeted out that if anyone over 70 was in need of a meal, Medium Rare would make sure to help them out. The restaurant delivered meals to neighbors’ doorsteps without any close contact and keeping in mind all the necessary health conducts. On that night Medium Rare delivered nearly 30 contactless meals featuring their traditional mixed green salad and award-winning steak frites.
Medium Rare’s actions prompted a community-wide effort in which residents from all over the DMV offered themselves to help out delivering contactless meals or even delivering fresh produce to the restaurant. Since then Medium Rare has continued to help feed those in need all throughout the DMV and has even continued to deliver special meals all through out the holiday season!
3. A new panda was born at the Smithsonian Zoo!
Earlier in August, the Smithsonian Zoo announced their giant panda Mei Xiang was expecting a cub, making her the oldest Giant Panda in the States to have a cub. The male cub was born that same month making its first appearance on the zoo’s panda cam later in August.
The panda’s gender was revealed to be male with the cutest painting by his father Tian Tian and the little cub was named after a nationwide contest in which the public chose to name him Xiao Qi Ji or “little miracle” — A very appropriate name for a cub whose birth was pretty much a 202o miracle!
The 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom marked a turning point in the fight for civil rights and saw Martin Luther King Jr. deliver his now-famous “I Have A Dream” speech in front of 250,000 people at the National Mall. On Friday, August 28, 2020, exactly 57 years later, history repeated itself self-drawing people in the tens of thousands to continue the fight for social change. Numerous speakers, including Martin Luther King III and family members of Black Americans killed in police encounters, gathered on the steps of Lincoln Memorial demanding racial justice and police reform in an event meant to recall the 1963 march.
An estimated 50,000 participants were said to have been in attendance at the historic march (On Tuesday, August 24, NAN’s D.C. Bureau Chief Ebonie Riley told DCist at least 40,000 people had registered online). Hotels nearby had been sold out for weeks, according to Riley.
When lockdown first started, thousands of healthcare workers across the US found themselves in the dire situation of having to fight the coronavirus without being able to take all the necessary precautions, so physicians turned to social media in an effort to get hold of the necessary equipment. A group of third-year med students at Georgetown University heard their plea for help and launched MedSupplyDrive, a cross-country operation to help supply hospitals across America and the UK with the necessary protective equipment like masks, non-latex gloves and bleach.
The project received an overwhelming response, helping the students launch their initiative outside of DC, across the country and even as far as the UK. The effort certainly paid off for the MedSupplyDrive was close to reaching the 1 million PPE items donated earlier in December.
Mo Willems, this year’s Kennedy Center artist-in-residence, invited all those interested in improving their drawing skills into his Massachusetts studio to doodle and write with him. The kid’s author released a new episode of his LUNCH DOODLES series every weekday at 1 pm ET helping the young ones (and let’s face it also the old ones) keep entertained through the endless days of lockdown.
When a massive explosion shook the Lebanese capital of Beirut leaving more than 300,000 people without a home, many of our local restaurants set out to raise money in support of the victims of the explosion. Chef Marcelle Afram (Maydan, Compass Rose), who’s of Lebanese descent, kickstarted the fundraising initiative alongside chef Roro Asmar (Asmar’s Mediterranean Foods) under the hashtag #Beitna, which means “Our House” in Arabic. The restaurateurs donated the profits of the mezze they sold through August 12 to both Disaster Relief for Beirut Explosion and the Lebanese red cross and urged their fellow restaurant colleagues to do the same. At least 10 other restaurants like Albi, Capo and Lucky Buns, took part in the initiative selling manoushe, hummus, kebabs and other dishes to help raise money.
The passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader at the age of 87 left Americans in shock. Her death prompted national mourning drawing thousands of people to the streets to mourn the feminist icon, especially here in Washington DC, but even beyond her death, the iconic RBG continued to make history being the first woman to ever lie-in-state inside the U.S. Capitol.
Justice Ginsburg was also only the second member of the Supreme Court to lie in state at the Capitol. The first justice was, according to the Capitol’s records, former Chief Justice and President William Howard Taft. He served as president from 1909 until 1913 and later served as Chief Justice from 1921 until his death in 1930.
On Wednesday, December 23, Bowser issued a proclamation for a new local holiday celebrating Dr. Fauci. In her announcement, she praised Fauci for his extraordinary work as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, his commitment to serve President-elect Joe Biden as chief medical advisor, his service to six U.S. Presidents and, of course, his unwavering love for the Washington Nationals. With the new proclamation, Fauci joined several other famous Washingtonians who got a day devoted to them in D.C., including Taraji P. Henson, Wayne Rooney and the late, iconic RBG.
The most awaited moment of 2020 arrived earlier in December when the first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines landed in DC. On December 14, the first U.S. citizen received her first dose of the vaccine in NYC launching the nationwide vaccination campaign and the Nation’s Capital isn’t far behind. In Washington DC, the vaccination campaign launched later that same day with the vaccination of the first five DC health workers at George Washington University Hospital.
[Featured image: Shutterstock]