The 10 best Post video stories of 2020

There were so many stories to tell visually in 2020, many, inevitably, had connections to COVID, but there were plenty of others that the Post’s videographers documented throughout the year.

The following 10 videos are among the finest works of the year, some joyous and uplifting, some heartbreaking and touching by Visual Editor/photographer Thomas Cordova and some of the staff’s other creative reporters, including works by Cheantay Jensen, Crystal Niebla, Asia Morris and Steven Smith.

For the first time in 10 years, Yuri Williams, founder of A Future Superhero and Friends, had to stop doing the part of his charity work that he loved the most: visiting children’s hospitals suited up as a superhero. The hospitals that Williams would frequent requested he stop visiting to avoid “getting the children sicker than what they already are,” he said. It was then he realized that in a COVID-19 reality, his outreach efforts were going to look very different. Jacob Baruch, founder of Project Coffee Cup, always enjoyed the personal aspect that came with his outreach. In the decade he’s spent feeding and clothing the homeless, Baruch found that when he was able to build relationships with people, he could help zero in on their specific needs. Part of that was physical touch, a hug or pat on the shoulder. “Usually they’re shunned or ignored because they’re looked upon as less than because of their circumstances,” Baruch said. “But I found that offering that compassionate atmosphere and eventually getting to the point where you can hug them, it just unravels everything they’ve been holding onto.” Now, he has to keep his distance. Doing the work Williams and Baruch did before COVID-19 was challenging enough: Sparse resources and tremendous need meant there was always more they wished they could do. Now, things that were simple before, such as buying food in bulk at grocery stores or purchasing baby formula and diapers for single mothers, became a test of perseverance and luck. Read the full story here. Video by Cheantay Jensen.

Local freelance violinist Jordan Busa never thought he would be playing to audiences after his gigs dried up due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The out-of-work musician recently announced in a social media post that he’s offering to play a 25-minute “porch-side“ social-distancing mini-concert, for only $10.  Read the whole story here. Video by Cheantay Jensen.

Of the clients who entrust their hair to the steady, meticulous hand of Gabe Torres, it might be hard to believe that at one point not so long ago, the West Long Beach barber could not so much as raise a finger on his right hand. It was on a Friday five years ago, on a day just like any other at Precise Barbershop when Torres, Precise’s owner and star barber, suddenly felt a pinch in his brain. “Instantly, I started to feel a tingly sensation on my right side,” he said. About an hour later, Torres was being wheeled through the corridors of Long Beach Memorial Medical Center, paralyzed on his right side. At 33 years of age, Torres had suffered an aneurysm and needed to undergo brain surgery if he wanted to continue to raise his then 4-year-old twin daughters. Doctors told Torres that there was a strong chance he might not make it through surgery and, if he did, it would likely take years before he would be able to walk again. And, he would never cut hair again. Read the full story here. Video by Cheantay Jensen.

A peaceful protest that drew thousands of demonstrators to the streets of Downtown Long Beach on May 31 was overtaken by widespread looting and destruction, which the city’s police chief said he had not anticipated. The afternoon began with protesters marching down the middle of Ocean Boulevard, decrying police brutality and the death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer. But by sunset, police were firing rubber bullets trying to disperse protesters on Pine Avenue. Read more. Video by Cheantay Jensen.

People were told to stay home. Parks, playgrounds and shopping centers are deserted. Businesses are closed. These are the eerie scenes from Long Beach during a worldwide outbreak in 2020. Video by Steven Smith.

Looting and vandalism that occurred in conjunction with the George Floyd protests left many windows shattered and walls defaced with graffiti in Downtown Long Beach. After cleaning up the glass debris, local artists began painting murals on boarded up businesses with messages of unity and support. Read more here. Video by Steven Smith.

This summer, Adventures to Dreams Enrichment moved from its West Long Beach location to a new grassy lot by the Drake/Chavez Greenbelt Soccer Field in the Willmore neighborhood along the 710 Freeway. Video by Crystal Niebla.

Wendy Carranza said she was overwhelmed by the show of support and love for her son Nicholas, who has terminal brain cancer. So was a significant portion of North Long Beach thoroughfares as a continuous stream of tricked-out cars, trucks, motorcycles as well as emergency vehicles—and one helicopter—rolled by the Carranza home to wish Nicholas a happy sixth birthday. Read the full story here. Video by Cheantay Jensen.

On Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings over the past few weeks, Naples Island residents and those walking the canals have been serenaded by passing gondoliers who normally would be singing to customers on the gondolas. But Gondola Getaway, an iconic staple of the community the past 38 years, had to close in March. So, founder Michael O’Toole recently began sending gondoliers into the canals anyway to sing to the neighborhood, bringing a sense of joy and normalcy to the area. Video by Asia Morris.

It was a sad celebration in the skies between Long Beach and Salt Lake City on Tuesday, as JetBlue, a dependable and beloved fixture that’s been running out of Long Beach Airport for two decades, took off from that airport with customers on board for the last time on Oct. 6 at 7 a.m. before landing in the Beehive State capital about 90 minutes later. Read more. Video by Thomas R. Cordova.

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