In a year of upheaval, everyday people stepped up to help each other through the Covid-19 pandemic and stood up against systemic racism. There were moments of compassion, bravery, and grit – bringing light and hope to one of the most challenging years of our time.
After you vote, tell us why this moment inspired you by uploading a short video. You may even see yourself on “CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute,” hosted by Anderson Cooper and Kelly Ripa on Sunday, December 13 at 8 p.m. ET.
Before Covid-19 hit, if you didn’t work in a hospital, you may not have given much thought to the shift change. Doctors and nurses would head home without fanfare. First responders would leave their stations after a long day.
During the pandemic, people across the United States and around the world marked the daily shift change with deafening cheers, applause, and clanging pots. It was a way to say thank you to the frontline heroes who spent their days tending to the sick, helping families say goodbye, and holding back their own pain to keep saving countless lives.
Gianna Floyd: ‘Daddy changed the world’
At just six years old, Gianna Floyd experienced a tragedy that shattered her world and woke up ours. For nearly eight minutes, handcuffed on the ground and with a knee on his neck, her father, George Floyd, pleaded for his life.
After Gianna and her mother spoke at an emotional news conference, family friend and former NBA player Stephen Jackson comforted Gianna. Sitting on his shoulders, she shared a hope for us all, saying, “Daddy changed the world.”
Round the clock for PPE
When the call rang out for masks, gloves, face shields, and protective suits to keep our frontline workers safe, the employees at Braskem America moved in and quarantined in two of their manufacturing plants for nearly an entire month.
They ate, slept, worked and played together while producing 40 million pounds of the material needed to make lifesaving protective gear. When they needed a morale boost, their family and friends organized a parade to show their love and admiration.
Twenty-eight days later, the workers all clocked out together, having produced enough to make 1.5 billion surgical masks.
In June, a Black Lives Matter group gathered in London to condemn statues of figures with racist ties. At the same time, a group of White protesters was there to protect the statues.
One man, Bryn Male, a White former police officer, wandered into the crowd and started to get beat up. Black Lives Matter protester Patrick Hutchinson saw that he was in peril and moved in. He picked up the injured Male and carried him to safety.
Photographs of the moment captured the world’s attention. Hutchinson, a father and grandfather, hopes that everyone who sees that image understands that the responsibility to do the right thing resides in us all.
The power of music
In the early days of the pandemic, many people were finding ways to stay distanced but still connect with each other. That’s when voices around the world began lifting each other up – spreading hope and celebrating life by filling the air with music.
In Florence, people sang the Italian National Anthem. In Chicago, they countered their sorrow with Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer.” Broadway legend Brian Stokes Mitchell found an audience as he sang “The Impossible Dream” from his balcony.
Global cry for justice
This summer, in the wake of the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, people took to the streets to demand justice for them and to highlight centuries of systemic racism.
Millions of people across the US and around the world risked their lives in the middle of the pandemic to call for justice and equality. They inspired a peaceful force of all ages, races, religions, and creeds – sending a powerful, unifying message of equality and justice for all.