Just under 10 years ago in 2010, we were in the middle of our first term with the country’s first black president, with not an inkling of what the next 10 years would have in store. As we begin to wrap up another semester, another year and now a decade, it is nostalgic, as well as responsible, to look back at the progress made and what still needs improvement.
In the decade, politics have undergone a polarization on both ends of the political spectrum. Whether far left or right, we have seen extreme divisive demonstrations between party lines.
In 2011, former President Barack Obama announced in a media statement that Osama bin Laden, leader of al-Qaeda and mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, was killed in Abbottabad, Pakistan, by U.S. Navy SEALs.
In 2012, everyone thought the world was going to end because of the sci-fi film ‘2012’ that debuted in 2009.
In Nov. 2012, Barack Obama was re-elected president and Joe Biden was re-elected vice president.
In 2013, a terrorist attacked the Boston Marathon by detonating two bombs at the finish line of the race, killing three and injuring 283 runners and spectators. Suspects Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev then led Boston police on a high-speed chase, killing one officer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Tamerlan was killed in a shootout with police and Dzhokhar was detained the day after, and ultimately convicted and sentenced to die for his role in the attack.
In June 2015, the Supreme Court struck down all state bans on same-sex marriage.
In 2016, Donald Trump was elected president and Mike Pence was elected vice president.
In 2017, Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, precipitating the Robert Mueller-led investigation on Russian collusion in the 2016 election.
In 2018, Trump met with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore.
On Sept. 24, 2019, Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi announced that an impeachment inquiry would begin against Trump.
In Jan. 2010, an earthquake in Haiti was a catastrophic magnitude of 7.0. In mid-February, the Haitian government reported the death toll to have reached 230,000, according to CNN. Millions of people donated in an effort to provide aid for Haiti, The American Red Cross being one of the prominent non-profit organizations that vowed to help the country rebuild. According to NPR, the organization in 2010 out-raised other charities by hundreds of millions of dollars, but the people of Haiti — even the country’s former prime minister — has no idea where almost $500 million went.
In 2017, Hurricane Harvey made landfall in the United States, flooding broad swaths of Texas and Louisiana and causing tens of billions of dollars of damage, making it one of the costliest natural disasters in American history. Hurricane Irma made landfall in Florida and caused tens of billions of dollars of damage. Irma also wrecked the Caribbean Islands. Hurricane Maria made landfall on Puerto Rico as a Category 5 hurricane, killing hundreds and knocking out the island’s power.
In 2018, United Nations scientists declared that the world has less than 10 years to get climate change under control, according to The Washington Post. Just 100 companies are responsible for 71% of global emissions according to The Guardian. A small number of fossil fuels producers as well as investors can be the solution in seizing climate change.
In 2019, from January to November, there were 46,706 wildfires compared with 52,080 wildfires in the same period in 2018, according to the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC). About 4.6 million acres were burned in the 2019 period, compared with 8.5 million acres in 2018.
In 2019, Swedish environmental activist and 16-year-old Greta Thunberg started her climate change campaign by holding global climate strikes. Thunberg is a current example of how social change can start from anything, anywhere and anyone.
Social media has been viewed as an instrument for social and political change connecting communities, educating the youth and even creating new social networks. Social media allows people to communicate more messages to more people much faster.
In Oct. 2010, the birth of Instagram had over one million users in its first year. Social media is no longer just about sharing photos and keeping up with friends — it is turning into a network of commercializing, advertising and building a self-brand.
The rise of social media provides an international conversation making it easy as well as convenient to voice an opinion and reach out to others who feel the same way, thus creating a movement. Even campaigns who did not have a start on social media are turning to these social sites to expand their platforms and reach a different and more populated audience.
In Feb. 2012, Trayvon Martin was killed by George Zimmerman in Sanford, Florida.
In Dec. 2012, a gunman killed 26 people, including 20 children, at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut resurfacing the conversation of gun control in the United States.
In 2013, three black women by the name of Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi founded the national organization Black Lives Matter working toward the validity of black lives and the rebuilding of the black liberation movement. It emerged as a political movement, protesting against what it saw as widespread racial profiling, police brutality and racial inequality in the United States criminal justice system.
The hashtag #BlackLivesMatter commenced after the acquittal of Zimmerman and shed new light on the injustices within the United States justice system and society as a whole.
In 2014, a grand jury decided not to charge officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown, inciting protests and riots against racism and police brutality in the St. Louis area.
In 2016, Omar Mateen killed 49 people and injured 58 at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida.
In Aug. 2017, a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, led to three deaths and a discussion about racism in American society. The term “alt-right” received renewed popular consciousness.
In Oct. 2017, a gunman opened fire at the Las Vegas Strip concert, killing 58 people and injuring 546. This was the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
In 2017, film producer Harvey Weinstein was accused of sexual harassment in a New York Times expose, marking the beginning of the #MeToo movement.
In Feb. 2018, a gunman killed 17 people and injured 17 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
Social media allows a widespread group of people to call out injustices and inaccuracies by portraying realities, creating a space for collaborative conversations across movements. We are living in a time where the average citizen has the power and the audience to speak up and speak out and be a voice within crucial conversations across the world that can generate a change in society.
As we recap on the significant highlights of the 2010s we should acknowledge that 10 years is a long time and a lot of good and a lot of bad can occur in that lengthy time frame. As a student journalist and a member of the new age generation, this reflection of the decade is not only a testament of surviving a chaotic 10 years but a draft for monumental change.
This editorial expresses the unanimous opinion of The Rider News Editorial Board. This week’s editorial was written by Opinion Editor Qur’an Hansford.