2020: The year America confronted racism

By Nicole Chavez, CNN

Americans were living through history in 2020 as the country was forced to reconcile the past and the present. The Covid-19 pandemic, which many had considered a “great equalizer,” paralyzed the world and Black, Latino and Native American communities were among the hardest hit. Racist attacks against Asians in the US were also on the rise. Jogging, bird-watching or calling 911 while Black felt dangerous and George Floyd‘s killing by a police officer shook Americans out of whatever made them numb to racism and police brutality.

No matter where you turned, you couldn’t ignore reality. America was the epicenter of a racial reckoning.

Within days, people joined more than 10,000 demonstrations nationwide and a movement to demand reform in police departments across the country quickly followed. Confederate monuments were toppled. TV and sports arenas were not exempt from the call for social justice, and athletes were among the leading voices in the fight for racial equality.

Throughout the year, US law enforcement warned about a growing threat and concern that the rise of White supremacist groups had become the biggest domestic terrorism challenge.

By November, people turned from protesting in the streets to protesting at the polls and Black, Latino and Native Americans voters helped flipped some states blue.

Look back at the moments in politics, policing and culture that defined the extraordinary year in which America was forced to confront racism – and in some cases moved the needle toward change.

Rage, Resistance and Resilience: The year America confronted racism


Editors: Delano Massey, Dalila-Johari Paul and Melissa Gray

Digital design and development: Ivory Sherman, Gabrielle Smith and Priya Krishnakumar

Editorial Research: Skylar Mitchell

Photo Editor: Rebecca Wright