Kalamazoo 2020 in Photos: 20 images from our community

Kalamazoo 2020 in Photos

Here are more images from the year:

  • Closed: Responding to COVID-19 (March-May)

  • Not Impossible: A call for racial justice (June-August)

  • New Normal”: Living with change (September-December)

  • An empty downtown Kalamazoo at 8:26 p.m. on March 28, 2020, the first Saturday where bars and restaurants were closed to help combat the spread of COVID-19.

  • The Green Top Tavern would have been filled with patrons on March 28, 2020, the first Saturday where bars and restaurants were closed to help combat the spread of COVID-19.

  • Another view of an empty downtown Kalamazoo, no cars or pedestrians to be seen.

  • A discarded glove sits in a puddle reflecting an electronic billboard with information from the CDC on COVID-19, March 28, 2020.

  • The Arcadia Festival Site, like many public parks, were closed in the early months of the COVID-19 response, May 7, 2020.

  • The streets and churches are empty on Sunday, March 29, 2020 at 10:25 a.m., save Judy Sarkozy driving her van delivering bread. Sarkozy Bakery stayed open throughout the pandemic.

  • The first virtual meeting of the Kalamazoo City Commission on March 31, 2020, seen on Zoom outside of an empty City Hall.

  • We are in this together” — one of the many signs of encourage downtown Kalamazoo. April 10, 2020 outside of V&A Bootery on the Kalamazoo Mall.

  • Empty rooms at the Raddison Hotel have lamps turned on to make the shape of a heart, April 22, 2020.

  • A march for racial justice, downtown Kalamazoo, on May 30, 2020, five days after George Floyd was killed by police in Minneapolis, setting off protests throughout the country.

  • Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety officers set up a perimeter downtown Kalamazoo after a large protest on June 1, 2020 (Photo taken at 1 a.m. on June 2).

  • A broken window at Lana’s Boutique on June 2, 2020, after multiple groups of people smashed windows downtown.

  • Memebers of the National Guard set up a parimiter downtown Kalamazoo on June 2 after some vandalism the night before. City leaders established a curfew that night.

  • Hundreds of people take a knee at Bronson Park during a racial justice rally on June 6, 2020.

  • A Black Lives Matter mural was painted on Juneteenth, 2020, downtown Kalamazoo.

  • Opening Day at the Kalamazoo Growlers, July 1, 2020.

  • Hundreds of people continue the call for racial justice in Kalamazoo on July 11, walking past boards that were used by businesses downtown and were turned into artwork.

  • A protester gives two middle fingers to members of the White Supremacist group the Proud Boys, after they came to Kalamazoo from out of town to hold a rally on August 15, 2020.

  • An empty patio outside Tap House on the Kalamazoo Mall on December 6, 2020.

  • A discarded mask downtown after a rain storm, December 13, 2020.

What will we make of 2020?

In previous years, the end of December has been a time to reflect: think about the highs and lows of the past 12 months, the things we’ve done, places we’ve traveled, how we and those around us have changed. We look back and hope to give some meaning to the often random events in our lives.

But how can we process 2020?

So many of the year’s defining issues have been shared by everyone across our country and world: a global pandemic, a reckoning on racial justice, embittered politics and the response of our institutions to them. While in previous years we may have looked to places outside our community to track the change, 2020 has brought them home.

In Kalamazoo, we’ve experienced it all within a few blocks: fear, anger, love, care, struggle. Throughout the year, I took thousands of photos within a square mile of my apartment to document this pivotal year. I didn’t know what significance the images would hold when I shot them, or what they will mean going forward, but I know it all meant something and deserved to be documented.

Today, I’m kicking off my look back at 2020 with 20 photos from Kalamazoo. Next week, I will publish four additional galleries:

  • Closed: Responding to COVID-19 (March-May)
  • Not Impossible: A call for racial justice (June-August)
  • New Normal”: Living with change (September-December)
  • Signs of the Time: 2020 told through signs.

These galleries primarily focus on downtown Kalamazoo, its businesses and the events that occurred on its streets. While they mostly follow the themes laid out above, I’ve included photos of the beauty that remains in our world, which became more important than ever. These photos do not represent the full story of what happened in our community, but I hope it throughly tells the story of one part of it, a place where many of us spend time and have some kind of attachment.

Thank you for reading and viewing my pictures. I look forward to sharing the rest of them with you in the week to come.

December 23, 2020