2016 is a year that will be memorable for many, but in all the wrong ways. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, the first reality TV star and the first woman to win the nomination of their respective parties, clashed all year over just about everything. Still, given Trump’s racist rhetoric, the violence at his rallies and the women that came forward to accuse him of sexual harassment or assault, it was considered a given that 2016 would usher in the nation’s first female president.
Despite a valiant effort and the united support of outgoing First Couple Barack and Michelle Obama, not to mention the fact that Clinton won the popular vote by 2.8 million votes, Donald Trump is the nation’s 45th president. And that, more than anything else, solidified that the world had gone completely awry in 2016. There were a few bright spots…but not many.
Here are the top 10 news stories of 2016.
If there was anything to look forward to this year, it was the opening of the NMAAHC in Washington, D.C. Our own Tom Joyner and his niece, who provided a moving account, were there as were Oprah Winfrey, Will Smith, The Obamas, the founding director, Lonnie Bunch and just about everyone else who mattered in Black America. The beautifully rendered museum, 20 years in the making, opened in September and almost immediately become the most sought-after ticket outside of Hamilton on Broadway.
Crowds lined up to get same-day passes, which now are being handed out online. From Emmitt Till’s casket, to a recreation of the Woolworth’s lunch counter where civil rights activists fought segregation to the Oprah Winfrey theater (so named because she provided a $20 million dollar donation) the museum proudly showcase the rich heritage, the achievement and the struggles of the African-American experience.
9. The persistence of hate crimes and racial aggressions
When and where does it stop? From Trump’s making America racist again, to the director of a West Virginia non-profit who called Michelle Obama ‘an ape in heels” on Facebook, to the Indiana high school football player who called a Black cheerleader in a picture with him a “nigger” on Snapchat, to the veteran whose free Chili’s meal was snatched back by a manager after a white patron questioned his bonafides, the year in racism was one of the best ever – if you were a racist. Then Breitbart.com editor Steve Bannon, a disciple of the so-called ‘alt-right’ movement who helped Brietbart become an epicenter of mainstream racism, was appointed as Trump’s Chief Executive. We guess we now know what “Make America Great Again’ really means, huh?
The fact that North Charleston, South Carolina police officer Michael Slager shot and killed Walter Scott is not in dispute. The slaying, which showed Scott fleeing Slager after a traffic stop, was shown around the globe. But a jury of his peers could not come to a conclusive verdict, which means Slager is currently a free man, although he can be re-tried. And there is a federal civil rights trial ahead, no matter what happens in the criminal trial. But think about it – a fleeing man being shot in the back by a policeman which was recorded – was not enough to unanimously convince 12 jurors that the policeman was guilty of murder. This, my friends, is America in 2016.
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