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Chicago’s 2020 In Photos: Unrest And A Pandemic — But Beauty And Unity, Too

We rang in 2020 with legal weed and an imprisoned former governor returning. Then, everything changed.

Harris Livingston of Oak Park does a backflip on Lake Street during The Love March with GoodKids Mad City in the Austin neighborhood on Saturday, July 25, 2020.
Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
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CHICAGO — Chicago and the world struggled with loss, unrest and division this year. But the team at Block Club looked through our thousands of stories from this year and also saw moments of inspiration, unity and hope.

We’ve rounded up dozens of photos that highlight all that happened this year in Chicago.

Take a virtual tour across the city to see what our reporters witnessed in neighborhoods this year.

Block Club’s photos from 2020:

Legal Recreational Weed Goes On Sale — And Chicagoans Line Up For Blocks In The Cold

Inside Dispensary33 in Andersonville on the morning the legalization of recreational weed went into effect in Illinois on Jan. 1, 2020.

Coronavirus Spreads To Chicago As CDC Confirms Woman Is Ill

People walk through downtown Chicago amid fears of coronavirus on March 12, 2020.

Mourners Honor Worker Who Died At Crawford Coal Demolition Site, Call For Better Work Conditions

Little Village Environmental Justice Organization and residents hold a candle light vigil for Reynaldo “Rey” Grimaldo near the old Crawford Coal Plant Jan. 30 in Little Village.

Rod Blagojevich Lands In Chicago After Release From Federal Prison: ‘There’s No Place Like Home’

Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich leaves O’Hare Airport on Feb. 19 after being released from federal prison.

Chicagoans Come Together To Support Chinatown Businesses Hit Hard By Coronavirus Fears

A family strolled around Chinatown, where businesses have been negatively impacted by fears of the novel coronavirus.

Brother Of Slain Barista Tackled Killer After He Stabbed His Little Brother: ‘This Isn’t … Self Defense’

Anthony Paterimos watched his older brother Santiago “Julian” Bueno train inside a gym in Brighton Park.

With Alleged Killer Walking Free, 100 People Gather At Richard’s Bar To Demand Justice For Slain Barista

Family and friends of Kenny Paterimos, who was fatally stabbed outside Richard’s Bar, protested outside the River West Bar Tuesday, March 3.

Illinois Residents Ordered To Stay At Home Starting 5 p.m. Saturday: ‘This Is A Make Or Break Moment’

Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot at a press conference announcing a statewide stay-in-place order Friday, March 20.
Patrons ride an Forest Park-bound CTA Blue Line train in Chicago as fears of COVID-19 rise on Friday, March 20.

Cops Kick Runners, Cyclists Out Of Park Near Lakefront After Chicagoans Ignore Coronavirus Closures

A Chicago Police car drives into Lincoln Park to clear out pedestrians and cyclists in the late afternoon on Wednesday, April 1, 2020.

Coronavirus In Chicago: McCormick Place ‘Field Hospital’ Built In Just 5 Days

Members of the Illinois Air National Guard assemble medical equipment at the McCormick Place Convention Center in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Chicago, Ill., March 31, 2020. U.S. Air Force Photo by Senior Airman Jay Grabiec

Chicago Singalong Of ‘Livin’ On A Prayer’ Unites Thousands In COVID-19 Seclusion — Including Jon Bon Jovi

Jenni Spinner and Rebecca Kell (bottom), the two masterminds behind the Chicago Singalong, poke their heads out of their apartment in the Rogers Park neighborhood as they sang “Livin’ on a Prayer” by Bon Jovi with neighbors on Saturday, March 21, 2020 in Chicago.

Dust Cloud Envelops Little Village After Smokestack Demolition: ‘My Lungs Started Hurting’

Dust flies up in the air at the Crawford Coal Plant at 3501 S. Pulaski Rd. moments after its smoke stack is imploded on Saturday, April 11, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois.
Little Village streets were covered in dust following demolition of a smokestack at the site early Saturday morning.

Major Explosion At General Iron Scrap Plant Rocks Neighborhood, Company Suggests ‘Potential Sabotage’

Pieces of burnt and bent metal lay on the ground as fire crews were called to General Iron Industries in the 1900 north block of Clifton Avenue Monday after a “major explosion,” Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd) said on May 18, 2020.

Living In Her Slain Daughter’s Logan Square Apartment, Mom Begs For Answers: ‘Somebody Has To Know’ Who Did This

Patricia Baute stands at a bus stop at Milwaukee and Fullerton avenues next to where her daughter, Alexa Baute, was shot and killed outside of a 7-Eleven in Logan Square April 7. | Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago

Chicago Nurses Show Up To Denounce Open Illinois Protesters: ‘We Are Tired Of Seeing People Die’

Protesters demand an end to Illinois’ stay-at-home order outside the James R. Thompson Center on May 1, 2020.
Nurses in support of the state’s stay at home order stage a counter demonstration to protesters at the James R. Thompson Center on May 1, 2020.

Chicagoans Take To The Streets To Protest Police Killing Of George Floyd

Esme’ Lagard holds a sign with her father, Derek Wallace, on May 30, 2020, as protests occurred downtown Chicago for the second day and night in a row following George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis earlier this week.
A Chicago Police officer uses a baton to strike protesters as officers guard Trump Tower in River North on May 30, 2020.
Chicago Police officers guard Trump Tower in River North on May 30, 2020 as protests in downtown Chicago continued after George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis.
Gino Laurent of the Roseland neighborhood holds a sign on May 30, 2020 as protests occurred downtown Chicago for the second day and night in a row following George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis.

In Lori Lightfoot’s Chicago, Bridges Have Become Barricades

Bridges in the Loop are lifted on May 30, 2020 as protests occurred downtown Chicago for the second day and night in a row following George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis.

Activists Beg People Looting Chicago: Please Don’t Destroy Our Neighborhoods

The inside of a 7-Eleven at State and Hubbard in River North after looting struck Chicago overnight on Monday, August 10, 2020.

Kenwood Residents Clean Up After Losing Vital Local Businesses To Looting: ‘I Don’t Want People To Think Chicago Is Like This’

Cavell Ball and Gerrell Tucker of Englewood help board up the windows of a looted beauty supplies shop in Auburn Gresham on June 1, 2020.

At South Shore Protest, Activists Say Young Looters Are Full Of Justified Rage — But It’s Time To Organize

Police and protesters clashed Monday in South Shore.

30,000 Protesters March And Rally To Protest Police Brutality, Racial Inequality

Over 30,000 protesters gather during the #ActivateChi Chicago March of Justice in Union Park on Saturday, June 6, 2020, later marching to the vacant grounds that formerly housed the Cabrini-Green homes.
Rhymefest speaks to the crowd on June 7, 2020, at My Block, My Hood, My City’s Peace March in response to the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers.

Chicago Cop Who Flipped Off Protesters Stripped Of Police Powers

A Chicago Police officer from the 18th District is seen flipping off his middle fingers at protesters standing in Armitage Avenue after a protester was seen making the same gesture moments prior in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood on June 4, 2020. The interaction took place during a protest demanding that Chicago Public Schools divest from the police department.

At Kids March Against Racism On South Side, Young Protesters Share Messages Of Hope

Soleil Foucher of Bronzeville holds her hands in the air at the Kids Non-Violent Protest Against Racism in the Oakland neighborhood on Saturday, June 13, 2020.

Wrigleyville Bars Return From Lockdown With Long Lines And Few Masks

Patrons pose for a photo in Old Crow Smokehouse on Clark Street in the Wrigleyville neighborhood on June 27, 2020 during the first weekend of Illinois in Phase Four of reopening amid the Coronavirus pandemic.
People gather in lines to get into Moe’s Cantina and walk on Clark Street Saturday in Wrigleyville.

Lucinda Rogers Can’t Stop Dancing As Neighbors Celebrate Her 100th Birthday At Her Woodlawn Home

Lucinda Rogers (in white) dances with Andrew Holmes on her 100th birthday in front of her longtime West Woodlawn home in June 2020.

With Parade Canceled, Pride Returns To Protest Roots As Thousands Show Up For Black And Transgender Lives

Thousands of protesters marched through the North Side on June 29, 2020 to demand justice for Black and transgender people.

Wealthy Family’s Hedges Ripped Out After They Blocked Off Parkland As Their Own Private Yard

Artist Zac Lowing sits on the embattled front yard of a wealthy family in Lakeview, who planted hedges on Park District land, on Wednesday, July 1, 2020. | Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
Contractors with Beverly Environmental LLC remove the hedges a wealthy Lakeview homeowner planted on public land in the 3000 block of North Lake Shore Drive West in the Lakeview neighborhood on Thursday, July 2, 2020.

With Chicago’s Official Fireworks Canceled, Neighbors Staged Rogue Displays — And Complaints Quadrupled

Chicagoans set off fireworks in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood on July 4, 2020.

Young Chicagoans March Against Gun Violence, Remember Those They Lost: ‘I’m Tired Of Seeing My Friends In Caskets’

Activists march north on King Drive during the GoodKids MadCity Love March to Combat Gun Violence in Woodlawn on July 11, 2020.

Protesters Try To Tear Down Columbus Statue In Chicago As Clashes Between Police, Activists Turn Violent

A police officer carries rope away after police and protesters clash near a statue of Christopher Columbus in Grant Park during a protest in support of Black and Indigenous people on July 17, 2020.
Chicago police guard a statue of Christopher Columbus in Grant Park, after demonstrators spray painted it and tried to pull it down during a protest in support of Black and Indigenous people on July 17, 2020.
A pile of bicycles sits on Columbus Drive after police and protesters clash near a statue of Christopher Columbus in Grant Park during a protest in support of Black and Indigenous people on July 17, 2020.
Crews remove the Christopher Columbus statue from its pedestal in Grant Park in the wee morning hours on July 24, 2020, in Chicago. This occurred just a week after violent clashes between police officers and protesters broke out at the statue.

In ‘Kids Lives Matter’ March, Woodlawn Youth Speak Out Against Gun Violence

Adam Hollingsworth takes his hat back from his son A’kil while his son Aking (in blue) looks on. Children “tired of seeing all these kids dying out here” marched down 63rd Street on July 31, 2020, chanting “kids lives matter” and performing dance routines.

At March Against Gun Violence, Young Chicagoans Say There Can Be Peace With Less Police

Harris Livingston of Oak Park does a backflip on Lake Street during The Love March with GoodKids Mad City in the Austin neighborhood on Saturday, July 25, 2020.

Loved Ones Honor Slain Teen Activist Caleb Reed: ‘I’m Going To Keep Pushing His Legacy No Matter What’

Balloons are released to honor Caleb Reed Aug. 4, 2020 in front of Mather High School, 5835 N. Lincoln Ave.

‘Say Their Names’ Street Art Honors Black Transgender People Lost To Violence

A chalk portrait of Marsha P. Johnson. Portraits of trans people lost to violence have been added to Andersonville’s Black Trans Lives Matter mural.

Breonna Taylor Rally Raises $45,000 To Support Black Women And Girls: ‘It’s Time For Our Voices To Be Heard’

Monette Mclin, 50, from the Rogers Park neighborhood held up a sign with Breonna Taylor’s name to show solidarity and support. My Block My Hood My City organized the Daley Plaza rally, bringing together hundreds to mourn the 26-year-old EMT shot by police in Louisville and to help support organizations led by and serving Black women and girls.

How Did These Students Get The City To Change The Name Of Douglass Park? They Built Collective Power And Didn’t Back Down

Teacher Jennifer Pagan (left) and student Aryn Peterson at Douglass Park. Students made history by pushing city officials to rename Douglas Park. They shared the lessons they learned with Block Club Chicago — and gave advice to other young organizers.

Pilsen Resident’s Gorgeous Garden Transforms Into Giant Altar For Día De Los Muertos

Isabel Hernandez stands at her Pilsen home, which she recently decorated for Día de los Muertos. The holiday celebrates the lives of loved ones who have died.

Biden Wins And Chicagoans Celebrate With Champagne, Fireworks, Dancing In The Street: ‘Pure Joy’

Chicagoans celebrated Joe Biden’s presidential win in front of Trump Tower Saturday.

Englewood Shop That Helps Local Entrepreneurs Needs Support After Car Crashes Into Building

Justice Collins stands in the middle of his damaged store after a driver crashed into the building Dec. 3.

Chicago’s First Coronavirus Vaccine Given To Doctor At Loretto Hospital: ‘The Beginning Of What Will Be An End’ Of COVID-19

Doctor Marina Del Rios from UI Health receives Chicago’s first COVID-19 vaccination from Dr. Nikhila Juvvadi on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020, at Loretto Hospital, a 122-bed medical facility in the Austin neighborhood. (Jose M. Osorio/Chicago Tribune/pool)

This Mannequin Nativity Scene Is West Ridge Man’s Reminder To Slow Down, Take In Life

Jim McCall stands on his front lawn in West Ridge Wednesday.

Neighbors Light Up West Side Boulevard To Let Community Know ‘They’re Cared About’

Aniyah Lee, 3, of North Lawndale, rides her new bicycle and helmet at the Light Up Lawndale event outside Stone Temple Baptist Church on Saturday, Dec. 19 in the North Lawndale neighborhood.

Mutual Aid Networks, Food Pantries Bring Resources To Chicagoans Struggling Through Pandemic: ‘People Want To Help’

Melissa Garcia of Joliet, Ill. wraps holiday gifts as New Life Centers of Chicagoland hosts a holiday food distribution event with the Greater Chicago Food Depository in the Little Village neighborhood on Tuesday, Dec. 22.
A resident with a cart full of food exits the line as New Life Centers of Chicagoland hosts a holiday food distribution event with the Greater Chicago Food Depository in the Little Village neighborhood on Tuesday, Dec. 22.

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