For most of America, 2020 was defined by COVID-19: Life stood still beginning around February.
But if the pain of losing family and friends to a scourge was not enough, the Black community was dealt another blow with the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May.
Floyd’s death at the knee of a white police officer caused explosive despair and outrage, resulting in protests by people of many races and ages around the world embracing the Black Lives Matter movement.
Village resident Annie McCary says she still finds it difficult to speak publicly about the deep emotions she felt watching the brutal way Floyd was killed and how she cried for weeks afterward.
Still, while her own tears subsided, she felt empathy for Floyd’s family.
“Something that probably not many people consider, ‘Black lives’ include survivors of those killed,” McCary said.
In honor of Black History Month, the Globe spoke with McCary, president of the Village’s African American Heritage Club, and club members Willie Phillips, Gloria Jordan Williams and Willie Sargent III. They shared their reactions to Floyd’s death and the Black Lives Matter movement, aspects of their personal history as African Americans, and their hopes for the community.
McCary, a seven-year Laguna Woods resident, says she was drawn to the Village by its beauty and tranquility, its amenities and its residents with positive attitudes.
Having grown up in Alabama, McCary says she knows of so many other young Black men and women killed for reasons that make no sense, but for the color of their skin.
“I know only too well of the wounds that don’t heal with the passage of time,” she said. “I know only too well how often the scabs of…