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It’s not lost on us that the last year has been full of losses, from jobs to lives. When City Paper reached out to Washingtonians we spoke to in March 2020 about how they balanced hope and survival over the last couple months, some weren’t ready to talk because the year proved too painful. 

How people fared during a global pandemic depended on so many factors, including health status and job type. Washingtonians’ understanding of how the last year went is uniquely theirs. And yet, they resonate. A mother of three young children learned to laugh when things inevitably broke. A couple survived a lot of togetherness and came out stronger for it. A mutual aid organizer set boundaries to make her offerings more sustainable. And a new parent is back at work and feels nostalgic for the days when it was just her and her baby stuck at home.       

Readers’ images of their year in pandemic perhaps underscore this very point. That our experiences and reflections vary so greatly. But their images also show that while the pandemic may have slowed us down, the coronavirus ultimately didn’t stop us from protesting, learning, or joking around.

Gary Z of Ward 1: “Activists across DC have been pushing for rent control for years. Despite pandemic and economic collapse, many continue to face evictions and no meaningful action has been taken on the rapid displacement happening across the city. Over the summer activists marched to protect tenants who could not pay, challenging the status quo and elevating the precariousness of housing as a key issue that dominated the At-Large race.” 

Bill Butcher of Alexandria: “This picture encapsulates the past year of COVID-19 in our brewery’s Tasting Room. It is our events calendar, frozen in time from last March. It is still there, greeting us every day in our empty, closed Tasting Room at Port City Brewing Company. We look forward to reopening to the public at some point. We especially look forward to resuming our kegging operations and shipping fresh kegs to our DC restaurant and music venue customers, when they can safely reopen.”

Margie Yeager of Palisades: “It was the second day that school had been closed last March and my husband was trying to corral all 3 of our young boys into doing some kind of learning. Clearly, it did not go well, and it has been a very long year for us and them in trying to learn virtually.” 

Heidi Lewis of East Silver Spring: “I’m working in the bathtub while my daughter plays with a water table I dragged inside to entertain her. It tells the story of my year because I’ve had to perform in a job that actually expanded during the pandemic, while working from home and taking care of two small children with my husband. No one asked parents if we would homeschool our children, but we stepped up and did it—for the safety of our community, for the health of teachers and staff, and for our country. But you cannot underestimate the enormous toll this has taken on people in a primary caregiving role that were stretched thin to begin with.”

Amanda Socci of Alexandria: “Before the pandemic hit, I was driving 250 miles per week round trip to take my daughters to dance class (from Alexandria to Bethesda & Friendship Heights). Joy of Motion Dance Center was our entire world. In early April 2020, because JOM had canceled everything, I suddenly had a lot more free time. I decided to fulfill a lifelong dream of writing a book and publishing it. With my family’s permission, I turned this into a family affair and we created “Socci Books” as a space to showcase any books we write and publish. This photo is from when we launched, which is Palm Sunday (the week before Easter) from 2020. I believe this is the most accurate representation of our life during the pandemic, because we have made Socci Books a priority and have been working hard behind the scenes to finish drafts of our books.”

MK Williams of Adams Morgan: “Mariah Carey gazing forlornly into the unyielding unknown.”

 — Amanda Michelle Gomez (tips? agomez@washingtoncitypaper.com

  • The daily case rate is in the red, at Phase 0/1 levels but is decreasing, according to DC Health. To see today’s coronavirus cases and more information, visit our coronavirus dashboard. [EOM]
  • President Biden backs D.C. statehood. [NBC4]
  • How local governments course corrected when only White, wealthier people were getting vaccinated. [DCist]
  • Bozzuto, one of D.C.’s largest landlords, settled a housing income discrimination lawsuit. [Press Release]

By Amanda Michelle Gomez (tips? agomez@washingtoncitypaper.com)

  • A new budget tool just in time for budget season. [DC Council budget]
  • The next election isn’t until 2022, but the political season is upon us, writes Jonetta Rose Barras. [DC Line]
  • DCHA HQ deal nearing closure. [WBJ, Twitter]

By Mitch Ryals (tips? mryals@washingtoncitypaper.com)

How Two Black Hospitality Pros Plan to Make Dining Out More Inclusive

A Black-woman led educational events series that aims to empower diners to have better experiences […]

Much of D.C.’s Vaccine Information Is Only in English. Some Change is Coming.

When Mayor Muriel Bowser’s administration launched its pre-registration portal for the COVID-19 vaccine March 10, […]

  • A guide to the best French dip sandwiches in D.C. [Washingtonian]
  • Look forward to these 15 spring restaurant openings. [Eater]
  • What vaccinated people should consider when deciding to dine indoors. [Post]

By Laura Hayes (tips? lhayes@washingtoncitypaper.com)

City Lights: Virtually Visit Yayoi Kusama’s “Pumpkin”

“Pumpkin” In 2017, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden’s exhibition Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors shattered […]

Zack Snyder’s Justice League Proves Lore Is No Substitute for Craft

It should be easy to dismiss Zack Snyder’s Justice League as nonsense. It’s about a […]

  • Arena Stage’s new trio of filmed musicals kicks off with My Joy Is Heavy, a video montage of Abigail and Shaun Bengson‘s life in Vermont. [Post]
  • D.C.’s Alec Bourgeois recalls a brief friendship with Eddie Hazel of Parliament-Funkadelic. [Medium]

By Emma Sarappo (tips? esarappo@washingtoncitypaper.com)

Even With Legal Sports Betting, the March Madness Experience Is Still Not a Reality in D.C.

The world endured a very different kind of March Madness in 2020. Just as everything […]

  • D.C. sports teams and athletes have joined the chorus of voices condemning the violence against the Asian American community in the wake of the mass shootings in Georgia that claimed the lives of eight people, including six Asian women. [Twitter]
  • Both Georgetown and Maryland will be in action in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament tomorrow; the Hoyas at 12:15 p.m. against Colorado and the Terps will take on UConn at 7:10 p.m. [Casual Hoya, Diamondback]
  • After a streak of bad losses, the Wizards took down the Jazz, the top team in the NBA, 131-122. Bradley Beal and Russell Westbrook combined for 78 points. [NBC Sports Washington
  • Maryland women’s basketball players are speaking out against the much smaller workout space that the NCAA women’s teams received in San Antonio compared to what the men’s teams have in Indianapolis. [Testudo Times]

By Kelyn Soong (tips? ksoong@washingtoncitypaper.com)