2020 in Review: 11 Winners (and No Losers) from Philly’s Strange Year
Now that 2020 is (mercifully) more or less behind us, it's time to take a look back at the year that was.
Now that 2020 is (mercifully) more or less behind us, it’s time to take a look back at the year that was. Around here, that usually involves compiling a list of the city’s biggest winners and biggest losers. Of course, 2020 has been a very different kind of year, so we’re going to do things a bit differently.
First and foremost: the real winners are all of those unsung heroes out there who have been keeping us alive or just making our lives more livable, from the teachers and grocery-store cashiers to the doctors, scientists and public health officials. We truly salute you.
We covered some other winners throughout the year, and we call them out below. There were also, of course, some real losers. But in the spirit of leading by example, and because we want to end 2020 on a high note, we’re leaving them off the list this year.
Winner: Ala Stanford
The founder of Philly’s Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium has done more than any other single person to help the Black community through the pandemic.
Winner: Rachel Levine
In the face of unending bigotry, Pennsylvania’s health secretary, who is a trans woman, has led and continues to lead the state through the crisis while holding her head high.
Winner: Tom Farley
A public health expert who handled the city’s COVID outbreak like a pro, even if a lot of people didn’t like what he had to say.
Winner: Kathleen Hall Jamieson
More than ever before, God bless the fact checkers.
Winner: Al Schmidt
The Republican city commissioner led us through one of the biggest and most controversial elections we’ve ever seen (and hopefully ever will see), fending off personal attacks from Donald Trump and his rabid followers in the process. And he did so seemingly without breaking a sweat. We need more elected officials like him.
Winner: Rebecca Rhynhart
In her role as city controller, she continues to try her best to keep Philly honest. Or at least honester. In May, she released a counter-proposal to Jim Kenney’s “painful” pandemic budget revision, sounding downright mayoral in the process. In our November issue, we declared her the third most influential Philadelphian.
Winner: Black Main Line Speaks
This essential Instagram account shines a light on racism at Main Line schools. Needed now more than ever.
Winner: The ChristmasPrism Inventor
In previous years, we never knew where to find the best neighborhood Christmas lights. Delco dad Mike Kane solved that problem for us with his new app, ChristmasPrism, which crowdsources the best Christmas lights near you. He’s bringing holiday joy to lots of people right when they need it.
Winner: Terrill Haigler
He became the sympathetic face of Philly sanitation workers during the city’s massive trash crisis.
Winner: Dot Levine
There’s nothing quite like a singing telegram to bring you out of the dumps, as this Philly performer has taught us during the pandemic.
Winner: Patti LaBelle
Now and forever. She completely stole the show at that Philly COVID benefit show, which raised $1.5 million for COVID relief here. And the local soul diva was just profiled in the New York Times Style Magazine, which she used as an opportunity to absolutely gush about Philly. (And honestly? Those $4 Patti LaBelle sweet potato pies at Walmart are not half bad.)