Year in Review 2016
Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo announce a raise for all city workers to $15 an hour. President Barack Obama outlines his plan to tighten gun control, including strengthening background checks and forcing dealers to register. The city is shocked after reports surface of an alleged rape in Brownsville, Brooklyn involving an 18-year-old woman and five teenage boys at Osborn Park. Charges are dropped when the woman’s story falls apart. President Obama delivers his final State of the Union Address. Funeral services are held in Los Angeles for late singer Natalie Cole, who died from congestive heart failure at age 65 Dec. 31. She is the daughter of legendary singer Nat King Cole. Oscar nominations are announced with few Black actors receiving nominations. Several Black celebrities, including Will Smith, Jada Pinkett-Smith and Spike Lee, create the #OscarsSoWhite movement to bring attention to the issue of diversity in Hollywood. Singer David Bowie dies at age 69. The Malcolm X Commemoration Committee celebrates its 20th anniversary. Lottery fever hits the nation when the Powerball prize surpasses $1 billion. Flint, Mich. declares a state of emergency as it deals with issues of drinking water contamination. Improperly treated water causes lead from aging pipes to leach into the water supply. Darcel Clark is sworn in as New York State’s first African-American female district attorney serving in the Bronx. NYPD officers involved in the 2014 death of Eric Garner are placed on modified duty after an internal investigation. In Texas the state trooper involved in arrest of Sandra Bland, who died while in jail cell, faces perjury charges. Jesse Jackson hosts his 19th Annual Wall Street Project Economic Summit in Midtown Manhattan. During the State of the State address in Albany, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is heckled by Assemblyman Charles Barron, who says the governor hasn’t done enough for poverty-stricken New Yorkers. Martin Luther King Jr. Day is celebrated in the city. A major snowstorm blows through the city bringing record snowfall of 27.5 inches, the highest for the city since observations began in 1869. The Rev. Al Sharpton, along with several elected officials take to the streets with members of 1199SEIU demanding a $15 minimum wage increase. A rally is held outside of the office of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara demanding justice in the 2012 police killing of Ramarley Graham. “The Birth of a Nation” premiers at the Sundance Film Festival. The period film about the slave rebellion led by Nat Turner is directed by and stars Nate Parker. The trial begins for former NYPD officer Peter Liang, who killed 28-year-old, Black unarmed Akai Gurley in 2014. Former Oklahoma City police officer Daniel Holtzclaw is sentenced to 263 years in prison after he is found guilty of 18 counts of first-degree rape. His victims were mostly Black women living in poor neighborhoods. High-end retailer Barneys agrees to pay a settlement to a Black man who accused the store of racially profiling him in 2013. Essence magazine Editor-in-Chief Emerita Susan L. Taylor celebrates her 70th birthday. The World Health Organization announces an outbreak of the Zika virus. The 22nd Screen Actors Guild Awards are held. Notable winners include Idris Elba, Queen Latifah, Viola Davis and Uzo Aduba. Noted journalist Michael J. Feeney dies at age 32.