January 1, 2020 rang in a new year, and the beginning of a new decade. Looking back at the past 10 years there have been many memorable moments, from the economy, to politics, to health. Some of those memories were personal. Some made national and local headlines, a few did not.
President Barack Obama, the country’s first African American President was re-elected in 2012.
In 2013, my husband Keith Boswell was recognized for being a founding member of NSBE, the National Society of Black Engineers.
The 2008 recession and housing crisis spilled over into the 2010 decade and lasted until 2014. It did not leave Peoria unscathed. The community development corporation I managed at the time, assisted over 1500 families who sought help with keeping their homes out of foreclosure. Housing counseling and employment training were some of the services provided to help struggling families who lost their jobs and were about to lose their homes. There are now State laws to protect consumers in Peoria county from predatory lending.
Healthcare for all Americans became available through the “Affordable Care Act” in 2014.
This decade will be remembered as having one of the worst Presidents in the history of the United States. The 2016 election of Donald Trump has been aligned with fraud, conspiracy, and an attack on the democracy of the United States. Thanks to Trump and his administrations inability to tell the truth, new terms have been added to Wikipedia, “alternative facts”.
2017, the Wall Street Journal dubbed Peoria as the second worst city for African Americans to live. An improvement from being the worst city to live in a year earlier because of racial disparities between blacks and whites. Racial inequalities that include poverty, unemployment, median income, housing, and incarceration were some of the factors used to review those racial disparities.
January of 2018, Kroger closed two stores located in areas with the highest poverty and minority population in the City of Peoria. Leaving these areas as food desserts.
Starbucks announced they were making corporate wide changes to address racism. In 2018 Starbucks closed stores and required over 175,000 of their employees to attend racial bias training. An effort to address racial profiling when an employee called the police on two black men for trespassing while attempting to order coffee.
The most heart wrenching moment during this decade, is the death of four-year-old Jeremiah Ward. This baby was fatally shot in May of 2019 on the Southside of Peoria. No witnesses. No trials. Silence, from the community this child was gunned down in.
Embracing 2020 and the new it brings, offers encouragement to cherish the memories that were made, create new memories to celebrate, honor the love ones we lost, turn our hurts to healing and be a positive instrument to help grow this City.