The year 2013 is officially coming to a close. Let’s look back on the stories that made impact locally and nationally:
1) The Death of Nelson Mandela-President Barack Obama called him “the last great liberator of the 20th century.” At the age 95, we lost one of our greatest leaders after a long illness. His global impact, selflessness, and sacrifice for the world’s greater good will live on. This quote by Mandela sums it up perfectly: “I am fundamentally an optimist. Whether that comes from nature or nurture, I cannot say. Part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed toward the sun, one’s feet moving forward. There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. That way lays defeat and death.”
2) President Obama Sworn In for his second term- The year started off brightly for the first African American president on January 21, 2013 when he was sworn in for his second term on MLK Day in Washington D.C. Despite what was to come in the following months, this day was filled with hope, excitement, and emotion. Even a lip syncing scandal couldn’t overshadow that. Fun fact: Obama is only the 17th U.S. president to deliver a second inaugural address before leading the traditional parade up Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House.
3) The Trayvon Martin Verdict- I think we will all remember what we were doing on July 13th when we learned that George Zimmerman was found not guilty of killing unarmed 17-year old Florida teen Trayvon Martin. After a riveting trial, America was forced to face the injustice of our justice system; our own inappropriate criticisms of star witness Rachel Jeantel , and discuss if racial discrimination and gun-laws are still a major problem in America. We also witnessed the grace and dedication of Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, Trayvon’s parents, who continue to crusade for justice in their son’s memory.
4) Detroit Gets An Emergency Manager- This year, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder announced that the city of Detroit would get an EM. This announcement came after years of financial woes facing the city and saw Detroit joining other Michigan cities like Allen Park, Benton Harbor, Ecorse, Flint, and Pontiac on the list of cities with an emergency manager. Kevyn Orr was named as Detroit’s emergency manger on March 14th. Since his appointment Detroit became the largest municipality to ever file for bankruptcy in US history. We can expect a “plan of adjustment” for the city from Mr. Orr in early 2014.
5) Affordable Health Care Act Good & Bad-The rollout of the “Obamacare” as it was dubbed, was met with much excitement and much opposition in 2013. And even with 1 million Americans eventually enrolling, all the glitches and internal issues with the website cast a dark cloud on what should have been a major bright spot in President Obama’s legacy. This was also the cause of U.S. government shutting down for the first time in 17 years.
6) The 50th Anniversary of The March On Washington- Starting on June 22nd in Detroit with residents being asked to “Take A Step” to honor the original Walk to Freedom led by Dr. King, the summer of 2013 found thousands of people descending on Washington D.C. to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I have A Dream Speech”. Complete with concerts, exhibits, events, and speeches from the likes of Oprah, former presidents Jimmy Carter & Bill Clinton, and President Obama himself, this was a truly a reflective moment in 2013.
7) Mike Duggan Becomes First White Mayor of Detroit In 40 Years- After a year that included a bankruptcy filing, more scandal with its city council members, crime and unemployment on still on the increase, and a less than positive nationwide opinion of the Motor City, Detroiters cast their vote for “something new” when it was time to elect a new mayor. And his name was Mike Duggan. After running quite the impressive, if not down-right resilient campaign (including being voted into the primary as a write-in candidate), Duggan was elected to office with 55 percent of the votes over his opponent Wayne County Sherriff Benny Napoleon in November.
8) Renisha McBride Shot To Death While Asking For Help- While still in the aftermath of the national stories of Trayvon Martin and Kendrick Johnson, Detroit learned on November 2nd of 19 year-old Renisha being shot in the face while standing on the porch of a Dearborn Heights man when she rang his doorbell around 2:30am asking for help after a car crash. After weeks of local and national demand for the shooter to be brought to justice, Theodore Wafer was eventually arrested and charged with second degree murder, manslaughter, and felony firearm.
9) Paula Deen Loses Everything Over The N-Word- While many were not surprised to learn that the Cooking Queen had used a racial slur in her lifetime, many did not expect the swift and vast fallout from the story. Deen’s disgrace grew with each day in June of 2013 after the story broke. When all was said and done the Food Network, Walgreens, Sears, Kmart, QVC, and Home Depot to name just a few said “buh-bye” and severed all ties with her. To the tune of an estimate 12 million in revenue for her empire.
10) Big Year for Blacks on the Big Screen- If you are a movie goer than there were lots a quality films from all genres with Black actors to choose from in 2013. From biopics like 42 (starring newcomer Chad Boseman), Mandela-Long Walk to Freedom (starring Emmy nominated Idris Elba), period movies like The Butler (starring Forrest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey) and 12 Years a Slave (starring Emmy nominated Chiwetel Ejiofo), sci-fi flicks like After Earth (starring Will and Jaden Smith), suspense dramas like The Call (starring Oscar Winner Halle Berry) and rom-coms like Baggage Claim (starring Paula Patton) and The Best Man Holiday (starring Nia Long, Morris Chestnut, Taye Diggs, Sanaa Lathan, Monica Calhoun and Terrence Howard), there were movies actually worth the high price of admission to choose from.