What Happened In 2019

So here we are in a new year, a new decade, 2020. A retrospective on year 2019 is in order.

1. Politics has been severe. In this decade, we have seen White House politics go from the genteel Barack Obama to the personalization of Donald Trump. Talk about change.

Trump has changed the face of American politics with outrageous behavior from grabbing women by the crotch, to eliminating traditional customs of the president, to making new rules as he goes in the White House.

His presidency will go down in history as tempestuous, but thank goodness the economy is stabilized with the stock market achieving an all time high. Trump is the disrupter. He has killed the Republican Party and his daily tweets are history making.

He has personalized the United States government as if it is his very own business, with business deals with foreign governments to market his second run for president.

He will always be infamously known as the third President of the United States to be impeached. And we have more to come. Stay tuned to possibly removing him from office following his Senate trial, or perhaps re-electing him to a second term.

2. Chicago politics changed drastically. The unlikely candidate won, one out of 14, as Lori Lightfoot became Chicago’s mayor. She is the third Black mayor, the first African-American woman, and the first openly gay person to serve on the Fifth Floor of City Hall.

Lori had a mandate from the people as she won every ward and beat the most seasoned, qualified, but out-of-touch politicians. The newbie took it with straightforwardness. She seeks transformation as she focuses economic development for the South and West sides, the neglected communities.

She has started with fireworks, from the teachers strike to firing the Police Chief, Eddie Johnson, ahead of his resignation time. In 2020 under her watch, we see legalized cannabis, street parking increases, raised ride sharing rates, and attempts to strip the ward aldermen of their absolute power. And she has only just begun.

Ed Burke and Mike Madigan

3. Old school politics is under attack. Long-term alderman Ed Burke is indicted, long-term powerhouse Mike Madigan is being studied for wrongdoing. The Chicago way is subject to being destroyed.

4. Entertainer R. Kelly finally is jailed for his sexual abuse of young Black girls and for child porn. His brilliant musical career is ruined and he may never see freedom again.

5. The news media landscape in Chicago changed dramatically. With the Tribune’s new investors, we pray that they don’t drastically alter the newsroom. The 24-hour TV local news station, CLTV, is no longer on the air. The Chicago Reader moves from profit to not-for-profit alternative paper. The Chicago Defender stopping printing.

6. Michelle Obama’s book, Becoming, was marketed like she was a rock star and made history as a best seller. It is a book of inspiration for women, especially Black women. Michelle chronicled her steps from the South Side of Chicago to the White House. It’s a real story about success for a married woman who managed to maintain sanity and independence.

Former Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson and current interim Supt. Charlie Beck

7. While Chicago crime is taking a downward trend, horrific crime still astonishes as we see children being shot with stray bullets in their homes and in the safest places doing the most normal children activities, like trick or treating at Halloween or at a house party. Maybe the new interim Police Chief Charles Beck, from Los Angles, can offer new ways to resolve the problem.

Sexual predators Jeffrey Epstein and Harvey Weinstein

8. Powerful, wealthy white males fell from grace. Jeffrey Epstein, accused of sex trafficking of underage girls, allegedly killed himself in jail. Harvey Weinstein, the Hollywood producer and predator, goes to trail soon for his sexual misconduct.

Prince Andrew, The Duke of York, has been distanced from the Royal Family for his involvement with Epstein and a young girl who was supplied to him by Epstein that Andrew claimed in an interview he never met. Photos speak differently than Andrew’s version.

9. Epic magazines Ebony and Jet dissolved. These magazines were mainstays of African-American history as they chronicled positive national stories. They were must read in Black households and left a rich legacy of authentic stories. All aspects of John Johnson’s empire have crumbled, including the print media, the Ebony Fashion Fair, the cosmetics company Fashion Fair, and the Johnson building on downtown Michigan Avenue.

Laquan McDonald and his murderer former Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke

10. In the case of Laquan McDonald, the 17-year-old youth who was shot 16 times by a Chicago policeman, Officer Jason Van Duke was tried, found guilty and sentenced to prison. We still suspect that the tapes of the case were held for over a year by then Mayor Rahm Emanuel for the political purpose of his re-election.

Rev. Marvin Hunter

11. Chicago politics changed from this case, as Laquan’s grand uncle, Rev. Marvin Hunter, led the charge for justice. This case is as historic as the case of the Black Panthers 50 years ago, when Panthers Fred Hampton and Mark Clark were murdered on the West Side by police under the direction of Cook County State’s Attorney Ed Hanrahan. These tragic cases both changed the political tenor in Chicago.

12. We lost…
Actress Diahann Carroll, who turned TV upside down in her role as Julia, a professional Black woman who was a nurse and a single mother. She was a multi-talented actress and singer. Carroll was also famous for playing a diva on the hit TV drama Dynasty and again turned TV upside down with her edgy, bitchy role.

Jazz stylist Nancy Wilson passed. She made the jazz world a better place with her dazzling dramatic storytelling of romance. Chicago’s very own, the late Sid McCoy, labeled her as the “Baby”.

Pulitizer Prize winning writer Toni Morrison passed; her work lives on in volumes. Politicos Elijah Cummings of Baltimore and long-term Detroit Congressman John Conyers passed with the proper rituals worthy of such powerhouses. We lost community based Reverend Clay Evans of Fellowship Baptist Church. He was a watchdog for the little man as he brought light to Chicago.

13. We saw social movements created on social media rise and become powerful and with political voice. Black Lives Matter took hold, as did Me Too for women. These movements shed new light on Black and female issues and caused different and serious perspectives that brought about social transformation.

14. Nancy Pelosi rose to the top of political power. The little lady has proven to have the guts, the power, the determination, the political will and the votes to impeach the President of the United States, to whom she is a constant thorn in the side.

15. The Democratic Party looked lost as it considers candidates for the nomination to challenge Trump for the presidency in 2020. So many candidates that the debates took two stages on two different nights. Candidates have come early and late and dropped out in between.

The public is listening and watching at perhaps the most diverse field, but the stage is still too large. To win and beat Trump, it must dwindle to no more than two candidates to have a real chance. I vote for the one who can restore dignity back to American politics.


16. Vaping became a dangerous habit for American youth as they destroy their lungs with a few tokes.

Jussie Smollett, Kim Foxx

17. The case of Jussie Smollett, the actor, has State’s Attorney Kim Foxx on the hot seat. It may cost her re-election or it may take her to victory. It is on her record and is haunting as she seeks another term.


18. The retail business is taking a beating as stores close and online business increases. Michigan Avenue struggles with its luxury wares, but remains vibrant.


19. Streaming TV services like Netflix, Disney Plus, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Sling, Apple TV and CBS All Access changed TV viewing habits and now the viewing habits for moviegoers. We see movies remain a short time in the theaters and then appear within weeks on Netflix. The impact could be as serious as it was for the record industry moving from CDs to digital downloads from iTunes.


20. Recreational weed became legal in Illinois. We await the impact.

Hermene Hartman

Latest posts by Hermene Hartman (see all)

More from Hermene Hartman

Tim Black Celebrates A Century Of Life!

Iconic Chicago historian and educator Timuel Black turned 100 years old on...
Read More

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *