A Year to Remember...

A Year to Remember...

A Review of the Events that Characterized 2017

From bombings and attacks that broke our hearts, to rallies and movements that restored our faith in humanity, 2017 was an eventful year we won't soon forget. So before we break out the champagne to toast the beginning of 2018, let's take a look back at some of the biggest headlines from this past year.

January: Banning of Refugees

On January 27, the New York Times published the headline "Trump Bars Refugees and Citizens of 7 Muslim Countries", causing a stir within the American community. Hundreds of people joined together, protesting the legislation and showing their support of refugees, while others struggled to bring their family members home from overseas.

February: Oscars Mistake

Big "Uh-oh" moment at the Oscars held in February 2017, when La La Land was named the winner of Best Picture, only to discover, after a number of acceptance speeches had been made, that the award actually belonged to Moonlight.

March: President Trump Accuses Former President Barack Obama of Wiretapping

Ah, yes, the wiretapping scandal. On March 4, President Donald Trump tweeted accusations against former President Barack Obama of wiretapping the Trump Tower during the 2016 Presidential Campaign. After a number of press releases, briefings, and investigations, the final verdict was released on March 20, 2017 that there was no evidence to suggest validity of the president's accusations.

April: Gay Officials Elected to Anchorage Assembly in Alaska

A huge achievement for the LGBTQ movement occurred on April 3, 2017 when two openly gay candidates were elected to Alaska's Anchorage Assembly. Christopher Constant and Felix Rivera became the first openly gay officials to become elected officials in Alaska.

May: North Korea Accelerates its Nuclear Weapons Program

In response to President Donald Trump's "aggressive stance towards the regime," North Korea announced its plans to "accelerate its nuclear war programme to 'maximum pace' and test a nuclear device 'at any time'". Thus began the theme in the news of 2017 of increasingly hostile relations with North Korea.

June: London Terrorist Attack

On June 3, 2017, "a van was driven into pedestrians" on the London Bridge; the drivers then exited the vehicle and proceeded to stab a number of people in Borough Market until they were shot and killed by Metropolitan Police. At least seven people were killed and many others were injured.

July: Priest Arrested and Questioned for Drug-Induced Gay Orgy

The secretary to Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio was arrested when his apartment was raided by Vatican City police during a "drug-fueled gay sex party" . The priest was questioned for his possession of the drugs, "as gay sex is legal in Vatican City" (NY Daily News).

August: White Nationalist Rally in Charlottesville, Virginia

A white nationalist rally held in Charlottesville, VA on August 12, 2017 to protest plans to remove the Robert E. Lee statue became violent counter-protesters arrived. Several people were injured and one person was killed when a vehicle was driven through the crowd of counter-protesters. President Donald Trump called the event an, "egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides," inciting disgust from multiple critics.

September: Cleveland Indians Break Major League Baseball Record

The Cleveland Indians beat the Kansas City Royals after tying the game in the eighth and ninth innings, breaking the record for the longest winning streak in Major League Baseball with 22 wins in a row. The record was previously held by the 1935 Chicago Cubs with a record of 21 wins in a row.

October: New York City Terrorist Attack

On Halloween night, 2017, eight people were killed when a man drove a truck down a bicycle path into a crowd of people. The man, identified as Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov, claimed he did the act in the name of ISIS.

November: #MeToo

The hashtag #MeToo appeared across the Internet in October 2017 as thousands of people spoke out against sexual harassment and assault. On November 12, thousands met and marched in Los Angeles, California chanting a number of phrases, including "Whatever we wear, wherever we go, 'yes' means 'yes', and 'no' means 'no'" and "not in pots, not in plants, keep your junk inside your pants".

December: Geminid Meteor Shower

On December 13, the sky was filled with meteors as Mother Nature displayed her beauty with the peak of the Geminid Meteor Shower . A spectacular showing and a beautiful ending to another year.

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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This Is How Your Same-Sex Marriage Affects Me As A Catholic Woman

I hear you over there, Bible Bob.

It won't.

Wait, what?

SEE ALSO: To My Closeted Self, I Have Something To Tell You

I promise you did read that right. Not what you were expecting me to say, right? Who another person decides to marry will never in any way affect my own marriage whatsoever. (Unless they try to marry the person that I want to, then we might have a few problems.)

As a kid, I was raised, baptized, and confirmed into an old school Irish Catholic church in the middle of a small, midwestern town. Not exactly a place that most people would consider to be very liberal or open minded. Despite this I was taught to love and accept others as a child, to not cast judgment because the only person fit to judge was God. I learned this from my Grandpa, a man whose love of others was only rivaled by his love of sweets and spoiling his grandkids.

While I learned this at an early age, not everyone else in my hometown — or even within my own church — seemed to get the memo. When same-sex marriage was finally legalized country-wide, I cried tears of joy for some of my closest friends who happen to be members of the LGBTQ community. I was happy while others I knew were disgusted and even enraged.

"That's not what it says in the bible! Marriage is between a man and a woman!"

"God made Adam and Eve for a reason! Man shall not lie with another man as he would a woman!"

"Homosexuality is a sin! It's bad enough that they're all going to hell, now we're letting them marry?"

Alright, Bible Bob, we get it, you don't agree with same-sex relationships. Honestly, that's not the issue. One of our civil liberties as United States citizens is the freedom of religion. If you believe your religion doesn't support homosexuality that's OK. What isn't OK is thinking that your religious beliefs should dictate others lives. What isn't OK is using your religion or your beliefs to take away rights from those who chose to live their life differently than you.

Some members of my church are still convinced that their marriage now means less because people are free to marry whoever they want to. Honestly, I wish I was kidding. Tell me again, Brenda how exactly do Steve and Jason's marriage affect yours and Tom's?

It doesn't. Really, it doesn't affect you at all. Unless Tom suddenly starts having an affair with Steve their marriage has zero effect on you. You never know Brenda, you and Jason might become best friends by the end of the divorce. (And in that case, Brenda and Tom both need to go to church considering the bible also teaches against adultery and divorce.)

I'll say it one more time for the people in the back; same-sex marriage does not affect you even if you or your religion does not support it. If you don't agree with same sex marriage then do not marry someone of the same sex. Really, it's a simple concept.

It amazes me that I still actually have to discuss this with some people in 2017. And it amazes me that people use God as a reason to hinder the lives of others. As a proud young Catholic woman, I wholeheartedly support the LGBTQ community with my entire being. My God taught me to not hold hate so close to my heart. He told me not to judge and to accept others with open arms. My God taught me to love and I hope yours teaches you the same.

Disclaimer - This article in no way is meant to be an insult to the bible or religion or the LGBTQ community.

Cover Image Credit: Sushiesque / Flickr

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We Need To Call the Waffle House Shooting What It Is: White Terrorism

Ignoring the racial and political aspects of recent shootings only treats the symptoms, not the root cause.

In my Environmental Ethics class, we talked about the idea of a "non-place" - industrialization leading to places that are the same no matter where you go, where you know what to expect each time. You walk in and each is a carbon copy of the last.

The core idea behind making each identical is that no matter where you are, you know what you can expect. Its familiarity is its comfort – you are home, even if it's somewhere you've never been.

But the effect only stands part of the time: as we've seen recently, many public places have been the setting for mass murder.

One of the most recent shootings covered to varying degrees in the news took place at a Waffle House in Nashville. While the shooting has been covered in basic terms, objective reporting removes an integral degree of what this violence means for its victims.

Everyone involved in the Waffle House shooting was in their 20s. Everyone shot was a person of color.

The shooter had a history of supporting Trump and his ideologies, in addition to a record of both racist views and run-ins with the government.

The AR-15 that was used in the shooting was previously taken from him in one of the run-ins, though the government returned the rifle to his father with the promise that he would keep the gun from his son. He gave the gun back to his son sometime between the run-in and the shooting.

The Waffle House shooting exemplifies white privilege and white terrorism in how the shooter has been treated and how people of color, especially black people, are targeted both by civilians and by enforcement.

The shooter's bond, which was later revoked, was widely publicized in contrast with the release of rapper Meek Mill two days later, who was not given bond when he was originally arrested last year for a much lesser charge than murder.

Multiple acts of white terrorism, including the Charleston church shooting, the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting and the Waffle House shooting, were curtailed with the perpetrator arrested and unharmed.

Cops can nonviolently restrain, but only do so when the arrestee is white.

If the person is black, they will be targeted for living. They will be targeted for golfing too slowly. They will be targeted for giving change to the poor. They will be targeted for standing in their own backyard.

Racism and police brutality go long before the past few years, but the increase is unignorably tied to the current administration.

One of the Waffle House shooter's previous government run-ins was because he wanted to meet Trump.

Multiple other recent terrorists, including the Stoneman Douglas shooter, expressed wide support for Trump and his beliefs. The president himself said he could shoot someone and get away with it.

Taurean Sanderlin, Joe Perez, DeEbony Groves and Akilah DaSilva have their names remembered with love because they victims of this tragedy.

The two injured - Shanita Waggonerand Sharita Henderson - are remembered because they survived.

James Shaw Jr., who wrestled the gun away from the shooter, is remembered as a hero, even as he was humble in the aftermath: saying in an interview, “He was going to have to work to kill me.

He is remembered as a hero because he kept more from dying, but in another situation, another non-place, he could've been the men who were arrested in Starbucks.

It doesn't even have to be a non-place.

He could be any number of names from any number of places that have been carved into remembrance for fear of forgetting what #BlackLivesMatter stands for.

Multiple articles following the Waffle House shooting have said that the main detail unknown about the event is the shooter's motives. I don't think that's something we'll ever explicitly find out, but it doesn't take a detective to see the trail.

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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