Let's be honest, 2016 was rocky at best. From Bowie to Prince, it was a year of loss. The Huffington Post sums the year of tragedy and ridiculous events up in one quote, "there are a million reasons to walk away from 2016, and very few that would make us stay." Let's take a look at the very limited redeeming qualities that 2016 actually did have.
So Many of Us Were With Her
62.5 million of us to be exact. In Clinton's concession speech, she spoke about what a milestone her almost - victory was for women across the nation. Before the final votes were counted on November 7th, there was such a surge of positivity all over the internet. Young women proclaiming they were with her, fighting for a candidate who believes in what they believe in. A strong, presidential, and capable woman was almost our first female president-elect. She proved to young girls across the nation that they could strive to do the same, and for lack of a better term, fired up women to continue fighting to break through the highest of glass ceilings.
Hamilton, The Musical
When President Obama takes his time to see a musical, you can bet that it is something special. And something special, Hamilton definitely is. Hamilton revives America's past by retelling our nation's history with a cast that resembles our nation's present. Women play strong, militaristic roles, and historical figures that were white and wore white wigs are played by Puerto Rican-American and African American actors. The cast is diverse, and truly representative of our nation today. Not to mention, it makes history cool again. This is important because 2016 was a year where many people lost faith in the nation. Despite your political affiliation, there is no denying that in the wake of President-Elect Trump's win there was widespread sadness spread specifically throughout the LGBTQ community, feminist communities, and minorities. Hamilton reminds its audience of the true intent behind our countries founding fathers - and breathes hope into a hopeless year.
There are Some Good Things Happening World Wide
The NYT revealed that world hunger has dropped to its lowest point in over 25 years. Also, for the first time ever, the death penalty has become illegal in more than half of the world. Finally, CBS says the Paris Agreement on climate change was "the fastest and largest United Nations treaty to go from agreement to international law in modern history." For a world seemingly under water in violence, terror, and global discord this year, we are making some positive changes.
Thanks Ice Bucket Challenge
The social media phenomena that encouraged millions of people to pour an ice bucket over their heads raised enough money for ALS research for an important breakthrough in curing ALS. According to CNN, 2016 brought research that discovered the gene NEK1 can be treated through therapy to seriously deplete the effects of ALS. Thanks to the 17 million people that did the challenge in 2015, researchers were able to get one step closer to a cure in 2016.
More Teens are Graduating School & More People Have Jobs
The countries unemployment rates have reached pre - recession levels. Now down to 4.6 percent, the country is in drastically better shape than it was in the Great Recession of 2010, when unemployment rates were as high as 10 percent according to PBS. Also, 83% of teens are graduating high school. This is 10% higher than the average in 2000.
2016 Was a Huge Year for Music
In an article on Pitchfork, Jillian Mapes made an epic point: "Think of all the great music that came out of the latter half of the 1960s and into the ’70s, as America reckoned with ugly truths about race, gender, sexuality, and war abroad, fighting over what society had been and what it should be." And now, think about all of the turmoil this year held. LGBTQ rights, heightening gender inequalities, police brutality. Singers and songwriters clung to lyrics to preach a new wave of social conduct to their fans. Listeners begged music to provide solace from social issues. Even the most notable rap battle fights of the year, like the one between Drake and Meek Mill featured important commentary on social issues. In his hit Charged Up, Drake says, "cops are killing people with they arms up. And your main focus is tryna harm us?" Likewise, Beyonce's outrageously successful Lemonade spoke to the difficulty society puts on womanhood, specifically black womanhood, and changed the game when she performed at the Super Bowl and all of her dancers paid homage to Black Lives Matter on a national platform.
These are six solid reasons to see that 2016 was not all bad. However, I am still expecting a whole lot more out of 2017.