2017 was a mixed-bag of the year. Our newsfeeds were filled with negative stories and near-apocalypse worthy beef. However, looking beyond the shit-encrusted blinkers, some very good things have happened this year.
- Fiona the Hippo
Born six weeks premature in a Cincinnati zoo, Fiona easily became an internet sensation with many people rooting for her and the Goddess celebrated her first Christmas this month. The Best Part of 2017
- The Women’s March
The day after a multiple-times-accused sexual predator Donald Trump was inaugurated as president, millions of women (and men) across the globe took to the streets in protest. An estimated 1 million marchers stood up for women’s rights in Washington, with another estimated 2 to 3 million more around the U.S. By some tallies, the Women’s March was the largest single-day demonstration in recorded U.S. history—but it didn’t end that day, really. The Women’s March ignited the spirit of protest that in no small way helped inspire an unprecedented outpouring of women to run for office and may have even influenced 2017’s other great women-led uprising: the #MeToo movement. (via Vogue)
- Beyoncé Had Twins
Just leaving this here.
- Protests Against Trump’s Travel Ban
One week into his term, President Trump planted the first of many white nationalist–supported flags when he enacted what came to be known as the “Muslim ban”—an executive order barring immigration to the U.S. from seven Muslim-majority countries, threatening to tear families apart and turn a blind eye to refugee crises around the world. What happened next shouldn’t be that surprising, considering the U.S. is a country fundamentally built by immigrants (many founding fathers included): Thousands who connected via social media flocked to airports around the country to protest the ban; lawyers reported for pro bono duty to provide legal aid to travelers whom the order left in purgatory, unable to pass into the U.S. The ban was later tweaked and shot down in court, only to for the latest version to be allowed by the Supreme Court earlier this month. But those early protesters answered Trump and Steve Bannon’s “America First” mantra with a resounding reminder: We are all immigrants.
- Honeybees’ Population Went Up
Honeybees are an essential part of our ecosystem because they pollinate 90 percent of our crops. Their numbers rose in 2017 after being on the decline, which is amazing news for the environment.
- Virginia Elected its First Openly Trans Lawmaker
The Democrat Danica Roem, a former journalist for the Gainesville Times, beat the Republican Bob Marshall, who sponsored a bill this year that would have required transgender people to use bathrooms corresponding with the sex on their birth certificate.
- Saudi Arabia Allows Women to Drive
Saudi Arabia announced that it would allow women to drive, ending a longstanding policy that has become a global symbol of the oppression of women in the ultraconservative kingdom. The change, which will take effect in June 2018, was announced in a royal decree read live on state television and in a simultaneous media event in Washington. The decision highlights the damage that the ban on women driving has done to the kingdom’s international reputation and its hopes for a public relations benefit from the reform, and is a huge win for women’s rights worldwide.
- Nevertheless, She Persisted
Little did Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell know that when he silenced Senator Elizabeth Warren during the hotly contested vote to confirm Attorney General Jeff Sessions (Warren attempted to read a decades-old letter from Coretta Scott King accusing Sessions of voter suppression), McConnell was only blasting her voice to a far bigger audience. “She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted,” McConnell scolded. Those three little words swiftly became a hashtag, a T-shirt logo, and many a sassy cross-stitch, but above all, they were a rallying cry for women standing up in the Trump era.
- The Rise of Good Samaritans During The Hurricanes
Hurricanes Irma, Harvey and Maria caused terrible devastation across the Caribbean, in Florida and in Texas — but also inspired amazing acts of heroism, generosity and neighborliness. One case: Spanish-born celebrity chef José Andrés helped organize a network of kitchens and suppliers that served more than 3 million meals to Puerto Ricans who in many cases felt otherwise alone and abandoned.
- Mattel Unveils a Hijab-Wearing Barbie
Mattel unveiled a sporty, hijab-wearing Barbie, modeled on Olympic fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad. Ms. Muhammad, the first Muslim American woman to win an Olympic medal, said that there was no Barbie that looked like her when she was growing up and that she hopes the doll will inspire other girls “to embrace what makes them unique.”
- Australia Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage
This month, Australia became the 25th country to achieve marriage equality, with both houses of the legislature voting overwhelmingly in its favor following a voluntary mail survey that showed clear public support. Same-sex couples also will be able to marry in Austria by January 2019, according to a court ruling there, overcoming years of opposition from the Conservatives.
- Malala Yousafzai Started College at Oxford
Five years after she was shot in the head by the Taliban for attempting to go to school in her native Pakistan, Yousafzai began classes at the University of Oxford—at Lady Margaret Hall, the same college once attended by Benazir Bhutto, who became the first female prime minister of Pakistan.
- The Royal Engagement
You probably haven’t forgotten about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s engagement, but let me remind you again: TRUE LOVE STILL EXISTS, OK? Britain’s Prince Harry is engaged to Meghan Markle. She is divorced, biracial and American — any one of which would have been enough to rule her out for the British royal family not long ago. So this is both a love story and a sign of growing tolerance in a tradition-bound institution. brb, crying.
“Me Too” spread virally as a two-word hashtag used on social media in October 2017 to denounce sexual assault and harassment, in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations against film producer and executive Harvey Weinstein. The phrase, long used in this sense by social activist Tarana Burke, was popularized by actress Alyssa Milano, who encouraged women to tweet it to publicize experiences to demonstrate the widespread nature of misogynistic behavior. Since then, the phrase has been posted online millions of times, often with an accompanying personal story of sexual harassment or assault. The initial response on Twitter included high-profile posts from several celebrities, including Reese Witherspoon, Rosario Dawson, Viola Davis, Anna Paquin, Lady Gaga, Sheryl Crow, Björk, Sarah Hyland, Molly Ringwald, and Ellen DeGeneres.
- Most Days in Space by a US Astronaut
For those who say we’re starved for real-life heroes, look no further than Peggy Whitson, who made history in April with what was then 534 days, two hours, 49 minutes and counting at the International Space Station. Whitson was used to smashing records: In 2008, she became the first woman to command the space station. She returned to Earth in September, but for a lot of little (and grown-up) girls out there, she’s still out of this world.
- Gunahaan Da Iqbal-Maafi di ardaas/dua
Gangveer Rathour got Hindus and Muslims together to atone for sins committed during the Partition of India in 1947; in Punjab, which was worst-hit by the Partition, with families being torn apart and communal violence on the high. It all started with a Facebook event called Gunahaan Da Iqbal-Maafi di ardaas/dua (Confession of sins-Prayer for forgiveness) whose aim was to offer a healing touch to people, each of whom had been personally affected by the tragedy. The first meeting happened on September 3, 2017.
- The Launch of Fenty Beauty
After two years of development and months of teasing, Rihanna’s debut makeup line Fenty Beauty is finally here. And, Look. At. The. Variety. Of. Shades. Of. Foundation.
“FENTY BEAUTY WAS CREATED FOR EVERYONE: FOR WOMEN OF ALL SHADES, PERSONALITIES, ATTITUDES, CULTURES, AND RACES. I WANTED EVERYONE TO FEEL INCLUDED. THAT’S THE REAL REASON I MADE THIS LINE.”
Other good things:
Animals were adopted
More books were read
People found love
People found ways to be happy
People discovered good music
People made new and lasting friendships
People survived cancer
People overcame depression
Any kind of victory, even if it affects only one person, is a victory
Happy New Year 2018.
What are some good things that happened to you this year? Let me know in the comments!