Heading into 2020, it’s unlikely anyone could have foretold the chaos of the year to come.
Historical events — seemingly one after the other, tested the world in ways many living people had yet to experience — though some of them were the remnants of the past, the continuation of centuries of injustice sparking conflict once again.
Loyola University and Rogers Park played a role in these moments and Phoenix reporters were on the scene to tell the stories and capture these moments in photos.
Women’s March (Jan. 18)
The third Chicago Women’s March — led by Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and other elected women — had protesters filling West Adams Street in the Loop before converging in Federal Plaza. At the front of the charge, Lightfoot was joined by marchers with disabilities, who were part of the focus of the 2020 march.
As a part of this emphasis, accessible entrances were set up near the beginning of the march in Congress Plaza and volunteers were dedicated to giving assistance to marchers who needed help getting through the route.
Loyola Men’s Basketball Beats Bradley (Feb. 1)
At Gentile Arena’s first sold-out game of the year Feb. 1, Loyola’s men’s basketball team beat out Bradley 62-51. Then-junior center Cameron Krutwig led the team, scoring 19 points in front of a crowd of nearly 5,000 people.
The victory was made sweeter since it was the first time the two teams matched up since Bradley ended the Ramblers chances of heading back to the NCAA tournament when the Braves beat Loyola March 2019.
Loyola Falls at Arch Madness, Bradley Wins Second Tournament in a Row (March 6-8)
Despite early excitement around the Ramblers’ chances at Arch Madness, No. 2-seeded Loyola fell to No. 7-seeded Valparaiso in its first game at the tournament. Free throws — something the team struggled with all season — were pegged as the culprit for Valparaiso’s win, with the Ramblers going 14-for-27 from the “charity stripe.”
Loyola was far from the only upset at the tournament though, as No. 1-seeded Northern Iowa also fell in its first game to No. 8-seeded Drake University. The two games made Arch Madness history as it was the first time the top two seeds had been eliminated in the quarterfinals.
Bradley would go on to win the tournament for the second year in a row, though the Braves wouldn’t end up at the “big dance” as it would be canceled due to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Loyola Students Ordered to Vacate Campus (March 12)
As COVID-19 began to spread across the United States, college campuses emptied one by one, with Loyola being no exception. In a March 12 email from the office of the president, Loyola students were ordered to vacate campus within seven days. At the time, Illinois had 25 known cases of the virus.
Students, expecting their dining dollars to expire at the end of the semester, cleared the shelves of on-campus stores and dining facilities before a March 13 email from the Office of the Bursar clarified that dining dollar balances would be reconciled with students whether they were graduating or not.
Suburbs Adapt to COVID Restrictions (April 10)
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s initial stay-at-home order, originally slated to be in effect between March 21 and April 8, was extended through the end of April. The order would eventually continue until May 29, ending just nine days after Illinois reached 100,000 COVID-19 cases.
In the northwest Chicago suburbs, residents and businesses began to adapt under the stay-at-home order — some restaurants, such as Don’s Dock in Des Plaines, resorted to having customers call ahead and pick up their orders outside.
George Floyd Protests (May 30-June 17)
After the death of George Floyd, a Black man who was killed by a Minneapolis police officer, protesters took to the streets across the globe to take a stand against racial injustice and police brutality. Chicagoans from many backgrounds joined in the movement and staged a protest in Federal Plaza May 30, with protests eventually breaking out throughout the city.
At the same time as the protests May 30, riots and looting broke out, leading to Loyola’s Water Tower Campus being damaged. While most of the damage consisted of broken windows, the broadcast studio was hit hardest — two television monitors, one of its three studio cameras and all 25 of the studio’s iMac computers were stolen during the night.
Rogers Park held its own protest June 3 along North Sheridan Road, courtesy of the organization Honk for Justice Chicago, which helped organize “pop up” protests around the city.
Shortly before the protest began, charges were announced against Derek Chauvin — the police officer who killed Floyd — and the three other officers on the scene of his death. Aiko Rose, a Rogers Park resident who attended the protest, said the charges were the “bare minimum.”
“We’re so lenient and we’re so used to it that we think the bare minimum is some sort of achievement,” Rose, 24, said. “It’s better than nothing but they need to be held accountable. … They killed someone, it’s not that hard to understand.”
Protests continued for months after the initial week of demonstrations which caused legislators to react. Promises of police reform and the passage of a resolution to create a city committee to look into avenues for reparations for the descendants of enslaved Africans followed in the weeks after the initial protests broke out.
Rogers Park “Neighborhood Memorial for Victims of Police Violence” Created (July 26-Aug. 2)
Rogers Park residents came together again nearly two months later to help the P.O. Box Collective (6900 N. Glenwood Ave.), a creative group dedicated to community building through “radical art,” create an art installment related to the protests on a CTA viaduct wall.
The “Neighborhood Memorial for Victims of Police Violence” pasted up posters reading “We miss you” with the names and death date of individuals killed by police officers. Every Sunday, members of the group brought supplies and encouraged community members to participate in the art piece.
Our Streets LUC Protests Begin (Aug. 20-Present)
Loyola students brought the Black Lives Matter movement to Loyola’s Lake Shore Campus by covering sidewalks with chalk messages and marching in the streets surrounding the university. The protests led to Chicago police officers taking six Loyola students into custody.
The students were released and some of the charges against them were dropped while the protest organizers, a group called Our Streets LUC, continued to pressure the university to meet the demands they had set forth.
Mason’s allegations were aimed toward Erin Moriarty — a university official in the Undergraduate Admissions Office accused of cultivating a “toxic” environment — spurring a university investigation into the matter which ended with Moriarty being cleared of the allegations.
Election Day (Nov. 4)
Loyola’s Centennial Forum served as a polling place for the 2020 election, bringing voters and electioneers to campus. While lines were thinner due to record amounts of mail-in voters — including 7,000 49th Ward residents.
However, several of those showing up to vote on Election Day did so out of a fear their vote wouldn’t be counted if they’d voted by mail.
“I voted four years ago and I would’ve mailed it in without a problem then,” Loyola senior Kailyn Strawbridge said. “Now I need to be in person because I had a fear my vote might not be counted or my mail-in ballot might be lost.”
Our Streets LUC Protest After Biden Declared Winner (Nov. 7)
Student protest organization Our Streets LUC continued its protests in Rogers Park through November. This march took place the day the presidential election was called in favor of Joe Biden. Students made clear that a Biden win didn’t mean their fight was over.
A variety of topics were brought up by protesters while they marched around campus and down North Sheridan Road, most notably their continued calls for Moriarty’s termination.
They also cited Loyola’s recently released tax documents, detailed in a report by The Phoenix, which revealed the six- and seven-figure salaries of university officials. The students argued the money used for salaries could be used to meet the demands they made months earlier.