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The Phoenix’s Year In Review: 2021 In Photos

It’s hard to follow up 2020 in the historic weight it carried for people around the world. The year that followed, the one that’s now coming to a close, put up a valiant effort to match it.

Under a microscope and hyper-focused on Rogers Park, these events played out on a local scale. Residents and Loyola students alike made it through more history, participating in what will be remembered for decades to come.

Between adapting to the ongoing pandemic, fighting for racial justice and finding success, The Phoenix was there to tell the stories from this North Side neighborhood.

The Phoenix’s Year In Review: 2021 in Photos

Movements for the Community 

“We’re told to set the world on fire,” said Jordan Love, a 2016 Loyola graduate who attended a Nov. 20 demonstration held following Kyle Rittenhouse’s acquittal on seven charges related to his killing two and injuring another at a protest in Kenosha last year. “That’s what we’re doing here.”

Zack Miller | The Phoenix Executive director of Southsiders Organized for Unity and Liberation (SOUL) addresses a crowd of protesters in Federal Plaza Nov. 20.

The fight for racial justice continued in 2021, this time taking on a wider lens as landmark cases surrounding race-based violence had their verdicts read and more groups joined the movement. 

The Stop Asian Hate movement joined the Black Lives Matter movement early in the year. Following the Atlanta spa shooting — during which a gunman shot and killed eight women who were predominantly Asian — students with OurStreetsLUC took to the streets near campus to call on Loyola to meet the group’s demands and support BIPOC students.

Zack Miller | The Phoenix Loyola students marched on campus March 28 after the Atlanta spa shooting.

In April, more than a thousand people gathered in Logan Square near Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s house following the release of body camera footage depicting the police shooting of 13-year-old Adam Toledo.

In addition to Toledo’s family, relatives of Marc Anthony Nevarez and Anthony Alvarez — who both were killed by Chicago police — took center stage at the demonstration and addressed the crowd.

Zack Miller | The Phoenix A memorial for 13-year-old Adam Toledo sits just feet away from where he was shot.

“Enough is enough,” Nevarez’s mother said to the crowd. “There’s no rhyme or reason why I should be going to the cemetery every day. Why I won’t have grandkids. … Give all these kids a chance to live, to make the wrong right. Don’t be the jury and judge before they even get arrested.”

Zack Miller | The Phoenix Marc Anthony Nevarez’s mother speaks at a protest April 16.

Alvarez was the focal point of another protest May 1, where demonstrators marched in Portage Park near where he was shot. 

International issues also came into focus. Loyola’s Lake Shore Campus (LSC) was the site of a protest to raise awareness about a coup in Myanmar while several protests in support of Palestine took place in Rogers Park, their focus aimed on Rep. Jan Schakowsky.

Zack Miller | The Phoenix A protester holding a Palestinian flag is reflected in the window of Rep. Jan Schakowsky’s Chicago office July 8.

A demonstration in Chicago’s Loop May 17 brought thousands into the streets in support of Palestine as a response to conflict in Gaza.

“It’s very emotional to see people coming out and supporting our cause,” said Ahmed Ben, a protestor at the May 17 rally for Palestine in Chicago’s Loop. “It’s greater than each individual person here. I believe and I’m hopeful we will take a stand and we will see Palestine free.”

Nicky Andrews | The Phoenix A protestor waves a Palestinian flag in the Loop during a demonstration May 16.

Loyola students also took part in these protests, bringing them to Loyola’s campus later in the year. 

Hundreds of students also joined in a national movement calling out sexual assault and misconduct on campuses following reports of it happening at Loyola.

Nicky Andrews | The Phoenix Hundreds of Loyola students stand outside Mertz Hall to protest Sept. 17.

“It definitely makes it feel safer, like a safer environment and I think it can help a lot of victims to actually share their stories knowing that even if the school doesn’t believe them, that their classmates will,” Megan Gennusa, a Loyola first-year studying entrepreneurship, told The Phoenix.

Nicky Andrews | The Phoenix Hundreds of Loyola students marched on Loyola’s Lake Shore Campus after multiple reports of sexual misconduct in the dorms.

Rogers Park came together after a different tragedy, losing a 19-year-old Miguel Angel Cisneros Jr. when he drowned at Tobey Prinz Beach Park. The community held a vigil in his honor and then rallied to force the Chicago Park District to add life rings — which some, including the bystanders who watched him drown, said could’ve saved him — after the city took down ones residents had put up themselves.

“I should have been driving him [to New York] last week but instead last Monday I was burying my son,” said Maria Diez, the mother of Cisneros, during her speech at the vigil. “All just because the lakefront has no life rings.”

Nicky Andrews | The Phoenix Rogers Park residents hold candles during a vigil for a 19-year-old man who drowned near Tobey Prinz Beach Park.

The city has since agreed to install life rings at Pratt Pier, near Tobey Prinz Beach Park.

Year Two of the Pandemic

Just under three weeks into 2021, more than 1,100 Loyola students filled the university’s dorms for the first time since students were ordered to vacate campus in March 2020. Two months later, the anniversary of the pandemic’s first days rolled around, prompting students to reflect on the last 12 months of online learning, masks and now, vaccines.

Zack Miller | The Phoenix Dorms were filled for the first time since campus was vacated in march 2020.

Classes returned to full, in-person operation by August, which also meant safety measures surrounding COVID — including a vaccine mandate and controversial exemptions from it.

Zack Miller | The Phoenix First-year Nicolette Anichini takes part in Loyola’s surveillance testing in January 2021.

For students residing in the university’s dorms, this meant potentially being quarantined in a dorm kept vacant for students who tested positive. This didn’t come without issues though, as first-year biology major Janine Dutrey spent her first night in the isolation dorm without food or power — her story being one of several that described the chaos around student isolation.

“I felt like I had no one to turn to,” Dutrey, who stayed in isolation for 10 days, said. “I felt like no one knew what they were doing.”

Sports’ Triumphant Return

Loyola’s teams started off the year with great success. The Loyola women’s basketball team made its first postseason appearance in program history while the men’s basketball team made a run to the Sweet Sixteen, including an upset of No. 1-seeded University of Illinois.

As classes became in-person once again, so did Loyola’s athletics. Crowds returned to Hoyne Field in time for the Loyola women’s soccer team to become the first team in Missouri Valley Conference history to win the regular season outright four years in a row just before taking its fourth consecutive conference tournament.

Wes Kinard | The Phoenix The Loyola women’s soccer team celebrates their fourth straight conference title.

With the start of the basketball season came unexpected changes, as Loyola announced its departure from the MVC to join the Atlantic 10 conference for the 2022-23 season.

Zack Miller | The Phoenix Loyola announced its move to the Atlantic 10 conference for 2022-23 season Nov. 16.


The Loyola athletics community and racial justice movement lost a titan when Jerry Harkness, captain of Loyola’s 1963 men’s basketball national championship team, passed away Aug. 24 at the age of 81.

Courtesy of Loyola Athletics Loyola legend and civil rights activist Jerry Harkness died Aug. 24 at age 81.
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