Why 2016 is Not the Worst Year So Far.
by Emery W.
This year has been tumultuous to say the least. Everyone goes in to a new year with high expectations, and 2016 is no different. However, instead of a fresh start and continuing to grow with the great steps taken during 2015, it feels as if we’ve been pushed back 100 years. I could go into detail on the many things that have happened this year that made other countries question our sanity, but instead I’m going to highlight the things that made our country stronger as a nation.
1. Awareness of Mental Health Issues
There are still tons of negative thoughts and ideas on mental health. Lots of people don’t see them as the delicate situations that they are. I’ve noticed this year that so many people have decided to come forward with their battles with depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. Not only have celebrities raised their voices on the subject, but words of encouragement and support have sprouted on social media. Friends of those with issues have been posting the numbers to suicide hotlines, or just lending a friendly ear to anyone who needs a shoulder to cry on in private.
2. Black Lives Matter Movement
One of the things that make me proud to be an African American woman is knowing that there’s an army of people behind me willing to fight for my right to be free. The injustices that have been placed on minorities for centuries has reared its ugly head more than ever this year. The people who are meant to protect us have become the ones our brothers and sisters have begun to fear. The great thing about the BLM Movement is that the soldiers who have been protesting and supporting people of color all fall on different colors of the spectrum. It’s such a breakthrough from the civil rights issues of the past. Men and women of all nationalities are no longer afraid to stand with us. Black or not, these brave souls are the ones I consider brothers and sisters. And what should scare our foes the most? This is only the beginning.
3. Health Care
The health and well-being of all of America’s citizens have been placed on the back burner this year. The fight against planned parenthood, rising cost of Epi Pens, and the state of the water in Flint, Michigan are only some of the examples. What’s cool though is seeing so many people rally together to expose the rich and high and mighty for the crooks that they really are. They are literally making our conditions worse so that we are forced to go to them to heal. It’s outrageous. But the blind are no longer leading the blind. The educated are coming forth to fight for what’s right. Activists, journalists, reporters, etc. are opening our eyes to what these people are really like, and as a nation we are finding ways to fight back. It’s empowering.
There will never not be someone who disagrees with someone else’s lifestyle. The tragedy in Florida reminded us of that. It hit us hard as a nation to watch the lives of innocent people taken away because at the root of everything, people fear what’s different. You can blame terrorists or whoever you’d like to point a finger at, but not since 9-11 have I seen so many people come together to love. The LGBTQ community is so incredibly proud of who they are, and seeing their pride makes me happy to be a supporter of their rights. If you think of what it was like even 10 years ago, compared to now, you’ll see the massive strides being made to
bring equality. More celebrities came out this year than any other I can remember, and so many of them young people! It’s beautiful.
5. Hillary Clinton
All I can say is, we just had our first female major contender for the President of the United States. It didn’t work in our favor, but this is not the end. It’s our time, ladies. This is no longer a man’s world.
These are only a few of the things that have made 2016 a year that’s not as bad as everyone has attempted to make it out to be. There have been massive strides made this year that are paving America in the right direction. It may seem like we took 100 years’ worth of steps backwards last month when our new POTUS was elected, but it will not last. We stand strong as a growing nation. So, I say to you, enjoy what this year has brought us; Netflix and chill with whoever you love, light a joint, and join a movement. 2016 was only the first step.