This was a year like no other. The Fordham community—together with the nation and the world—faced tough challenges and life-changing tragedies. We struggled and we grieved. We reckoned with our past and worked toward a more just future. And we found hope in stories of ingenuity, strength, heroism, and love.

Below are the Fordham News team’s favorite posts of 2020. We’re grateful and privileged to share Fordham’s stories with you each week. Thanks for reading!

‘From Our Hearts:’ Finding Togetherness and Practicing Compassion During Ramadan
Ayesha Akhtar, Assistant Director of Communications

Stock image of Koran in a MosqueThis year has been challenging. My family lost our cousin to COVID in March; he was only 23 years old when he passed. I was pregnant during Ramadan this year, so I didn’t participate in the ritual of fasting. However, the spirit of Ramadan still resonates with me. Yes, the pandemic has shut down so much of our lives in New York City, but it has made room for important things, too. Rest, reflection, poetry, family. Ramadan remains a time “that we do things from our hearts,” said Mohamed Alsiadi, director of the Arabic Language and Cultural Studies program at Fordham. For me, this pandemic year was filled with heart.

This piece is dedicated to the loving memory of my cousin Hafiz Robel Ahmed, who held the most high close to his heart.

Black Lives Matter Inspired Cultural Shift in Entertainment Industry, Says Media Studies Professor
Diana Chan, Communications Coordinator

It was a pleasure to interview professor Brandy Monk-Payton, who was incredibly knowledgeable about the responsibility of the media to respond to the Black Lives Matter movement. I learned a lot from her and our conversation, especially about the future of the industry and the importance of casting people of color both on and off the screen.

Erin Flynn: Body of Ice, Feet of Fire
Taylor Ha, Staff Writer, Fordham News

I shot, directed, and produced a video about Erin Flynn, an Irish step dancer and (now) Fordham alumna. I loved interviewing her about her 17 years of dancing, as well as shooting scenes in Keating Hall’s dance studio and beyond and recording slo-mo shots with my department’s new camera, a SONY A7R III. However, the pandemic canceled the event where I would’ve shot my final footage. On March 9, we came up with a last-minute plan: I rode the subway to Queens, hugging my equipment close to my body in a possibly infected car, and recorded Erin at an outside event. A week later, I published her video. On Facebook, the video has received more than 13,700 views, 420 likes, and 90 shares. Her story resonated with thousands of people during a dark time when we were afraid to leave our homes.

Fordham Alumni on the Front Lines of the Coronavirus Pandemic
Kelly Kultys, Staff Writer, Fordham News and Fordham Magazine; Assistant Editor; University Marketing and Communications

A nurse looks at firefightersAbout a month after the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States, I had the opportunity, along with the rest of the Fordham Magazine team, to share the stories of Fordham alumni who were at the heart of battling this disease. Our goal was to bring the front lines of the pandemic to our readers, to show them what our doctors, nurses, and other health care workers were facing 24/7. The ability to share their experiences, their challenges, and their emotions about the pandemic made for the most moving story I had the chance to work on this year.

Bronx History Makers Rewrite the Narrative
Tom Stoelker, Senior Staff Writer, Fordham News

For those of us who love the Bronx—and there are a lot of us—this story and video remind us why: the people. The piece is about Bronx high schoolers, mentored by four Fordham undergraduates, who presented research that challenged negative stereotypes of the borough. “We live in the Bronx, we grew up here, but we have all of these outside influences that even affect how we see ourselves,” says scholar Harley Lopez, a junior at Manhattan Hunter Science High School. At the end of the video Gregory Jost, adjunct professor and faculty supervisor for the project, said that the young people of color who participated were the borough’s biggest asset, to which Fordham College at Rose Hill junior Emily Romero replied, “Yeah, so, we’re worthy!”

Suburbanites Need to Be Part of Racism Conversation, Says Professor
Patrick Verel, Associate Editor, Fordham News

stock image of houses in a suburbIf there is one takeaway about racism that I’ve learned this year, it’s that white Americans need to have a conversation about it, and we have to be willing to confront painful truths about ourselves. I couldn’t have asked for a better person to talk to about this subject than recently retired professor Roger Panetta, who was way more open and honest about the subject than I could have hoped for.

Social Media Posts

Father McShane’s Photo Essays
Rachel Roman, Assistant Director of Social Media

At a time when everything was so scary and unknown, Father McShane’s quarantine photo essays, beginning with this one from Easter Sunday, were a source of comfort and familiarity. The photos were hauntingly beautiful and made me reminisce about my time spent on campus as a student, alumna, and administrator. #AlwaysARam

TikTok: Campus Beauty
Diana Chan

These TikTok videos showing off the Rose Hill and Lincoln Center campuses got thousands of views. And we got to bring a little Fordham pride to all the Rams that were missing being on campus this semester.

@fordhamuniversityWe can’t stop showing off Rose Hill 🥰 🎥: Ella McGarvey #fordham #college #campus #nyc♬ Campus – Vampire Weekend

@fordhamuniversityDon’t you just love the Lincoln Center campus?! 🤩 🎥: @emilyih_ #fordham #college #campus #nyc♬ Campus – Vampire Weekend