2019

It seems strange to think that the 2010s are over. In some ways, it is odder to think that the beginning of 2019 was a year ago. Some of the events of the final year of the decade seem like they happened ages ago. This is probably due in part to the fact that there were so many important stories and events throughout the year. From politics to science, here are some of the most impactful events from Marblehead to outer space.

2019 was an important year in U.S. politics. The year started off with the continuation of a government shutdown, which ended on January 25th, 2019. It lasted for 35 days and was the longest government shutdown in U.S history. Over the course of the year, there were many other important political events. In June, the first Democratic presidential debates included 20 candidates. There were three other candidates who did not qualify for this debate and have since dropped out, along with many of the candidates who did participate in the first debate. There are a few Republicans, such as former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld, who are challenging the incumbent president in the 2020 primaries. However, the biggest political news came at the end of the year. On December 18, 2019, the House of Representatives voted to impeach the president on two articles, the first of which was abuse of power and the second obstruction of Congress. The House has not sent the articles to the Senate, so the impeachment process is not over yet. 

Despite the focus on national politics, there were also important changes in Massachusetts. Voter Choice for Massachusetts is an organization working to get ranked choice voting (RCV), a system in which voters can rank their choices of candidates, on Massachusetts ballots. In early December, they filed signatures in support of an RCV ballot question so that Massachusetts voters will be able to decide whether or not they want to implement RCV for state elections. On a more local scale, Marblehead decided to change Columbus Day to Indigenous People’s Day in the spring. In terms of Marblehead’s public school system, the year was busy as well. Superintendent Maryann Perry, as well as the rest of the school department administration, resigned after a financial scandal. The town also voted to build a new elementary school where Bell School is now.

The climate crisis played a large role in the events of 2019. During August, news about the fires in the Amazon rainforest spread quickly, but unfortunately, the Amazon was not the only area to experience catastrophic fires. Australia is still suffering from a terrible bushfire season which started towards the end of the summer. It is estimated that over 500 million animals have died because of the fires so far. On a more optimistic note, people across the world gathered during multiple climate strikes to demand legislation for a green future. This movement was led largely by climate activist Greta Thunberg, who recently turned 17. Time named her 2019 Person of the Year for her environmental activism that has had an impact on people across the world.

There was more positive news about activities in outer space. In April, astronomers revealed the first-ever picture of a black hole, located in the Messier 87 galaxy. The picture does not actually show the black hole itself but rather the light surrounding it. About a half a year later, Christina Koch and Jessica Meir left the International Space Station to fix a broken battery charger. Not only was this Meir’s first spacewalk, but it was also the first all-female spacewalk. However, that is not the only important advancement for women in astronomy that happened in 2019. In May, NASA announced Artemis, a lunar exploration program. By 2024, they want to have American astronauts on the moon. One of these astronauts will be the first woman on the moon. Hopefully all of the 2020s will feature news as good as this.

Alexis Earp

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