2016 was a rough year. Point blank. Everything from the presidential elections, controversy over Black Lives Matter, terrorism, the clown epidemic, the Syrian refugee crisis, and I’m still not over Alan Rickman passing away. Furthermore, no mater how bumpy the road got, thank goodness we had the internet, specifically Tumblr, to provide the necessary commentary and comedic timing for how concerning this year has been. You know the world is heartbroken when the actual year of 2016 becomes a running gag and inside joke that all millennials are in on.

Laughter aside, I think it’s okay to reflect and be honest about what a challenging year this year has been for our nation and culture. Good riddance to a year of disappointments, shockers, heartbreak, and tragedy.

But with that said, it is incredibly important to reflect on the success and joys of this past year.And let us dwell and dive into the affirmation of the goodness that exists in our world. As my friends know, I am a huge advocate for giving credit where credit is due. In this time I believe it is imperative to acknowledge the good work of humanity in our world. We need to be people of hope, hope that moves into action.

As 2016 reaches a close and the impending doom of the “good riddance” and “we survived” memes continue to populate your newsfeed until the ball drops on New Year’s… I decided to compile a small but impressive list of a few important things that happened this past year.

Sit back, enjoy, and appreciate the best use of the following gif I could imagine…

A List of the Good Things That Happened In the World In 2016

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1. Pandas are no longer an endangered species

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It was reported in 2016 that the population of panda bears in China has increased and is no longer classified on the endangered species list but is now marked “vulnerable” according to the International Union for Conservation  of Nature (IUCN). The increase damages in climate change is a predicted damage to their bamboo habitat.

2. There was a MAJOR breakthrough in HIV research!

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Science made one step closer towards finding the cure for HIV! That is absolutely something worthy celebrating.

Immunologists from the UK combined antiretroviral drugs “with a drug that reactivates dormant HIV and a vaccine that stimulates the immune system” to nix the virus. Importantly, it was reported that a 44-year-old male social worker from London who partook in the 50-person survey was reported to have signs of the virus not detectable after receiving treatment.

3. In related medical news, America eliminated measles!

After a two-decade long effort through the use of vaccinations, 2016 is the year in which the viral disease became completely eliminated in the Americas according to the World Health Organization. This is the first region that has been able to completely rid of themselves of the measles, which leads to other health problems such as pneumonia and brain swelling.

4. Cleveland Cavaliers finally became champions!

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What a victory! The Cleveland Cavaliers brought home their first championship, winning the 2016 NBA Final. The Cavaliers became the first champions in the NBA history to grab a 3- 1 series deficit. Notably, this win broke the 52-year sport championship drought. It created quite an uproar for Cleveland. Well earned.

5. These Women Made History on Election Night

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With the major buzz over the presidential elections, so many people forgot to celebrate the amazing achievement of Kamala Harris, Catherine Cortez Masto, and Tammy Duckworth who were elected to the Senate. Stephanie Murphy and Pramila Jayapal, and Ilhan Omar  won seats in the House of Representatives.

With these women of color, there are now 4 minority lady senators. Senator Kamala Harris (California) and Pramila Jayapal (Washington) are their state’s first Indian-American woman senator. Let’s not forget Senator Ilhan Omar (Minnesota) who is the first Somali-American Muslim woman in the state legislative, a former refugee. Let’s pray that these amazing women make positive, life-giving strides for future women leaders.

6. Women in the Military finally have 12-Week Maternity Leave

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Our nation has a far way to go regarding focusing on the family. Paid maternity (and paternity, yay equality!) leave needs to be made more of a priority, to foster the development of newborns and form families.

But good news is that women serving in the military finally have 12-week paid maternity leave and increasing paternity leave to 10-14 days.

Click here to hear a witness from That Catholic Couple about why our nation’s lack of sufficient paid family leave is a serious pro-life issue.

7. U.S. rate of high school graduates reaches its highest yet!

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The Department of Education revealed that the rate of high school students earning their diplomas has increased to an all time-high this year at 83% of students. This is a huge improvement! Comparatively, the last significant increase was in 1999 when the rate reached a 73%. That means 10% more high school students have a greater opportunity to higher education and greater employment opportunities.

8. Construction Was Halted for Dakota Access Oil Pipeline

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The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers denied permits for the Dakota Access Pipeline due to the large peaceful protests at Standing Rock, which is nearly half a mile from sacred land a tribal reservation of the Standing Rock Sioux. The uproar against the DAP, which led to the increased peaceful protests came from the widely regarded argument that the predicted leaks from the pipeline would contaminate their drinking water and create damage to the sacred burial sites.

9. Unemployment rate decreases to pre-recession rate

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According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics our nation’s rate of the unemployed has decreased, sitting at a 4.6 percent. This has literally not been the reality for American statistics since August of 2007 which is when, due to the Great Recession, the unemployment rate began to climb up to 10% by October 2010.

10. Hamilton Takes Over the World (and wins some Tony’s)

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Hamilton came out in 2015, but it’s safe to say that 2016 was when this production took over the world. The Tony Awards took place the evening after the terrorist shooting at The Pulse Nightclub in Orlando. So much has been shared on that terrible terrible day… and appropriately there was such a momentous noise of support, love, and solidarity amongst the Broadway community for their brothers and sisters who tragically lost their lives that day. Notably, the cast of Hamilton on the morning of the Tony’s announced that they would not be using their gun props for their scheduled performance of “Yorktown”. According to Lin-Manuel Miranda, “That’s not the image we wanted to send into the world that night.” Mad respect.

 

Hamilton, you are so good for this nation. Invoking a blast of soul, rhythm and energy to tell the story of our founding fathers. A message of trial, collaboration, and democracy. This is the most relevant message, one that our nation needs to continue to hear. To continue to know our roots. To continue to have a fervor for our people and the future ahead of us.

Now that is just a bit old the good things that happened, feel free to take a look back on what other phenomenal things happened this year… take a look at what Google made.

2016 you were rough. But, shoot, you were good. 2017 please be kind.

 

 

 

References:

Heathman, Amelia. (2016, December 8). 2016 wasn’t all bad! 16 positive things that happened over the past 12 months [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://blog.apabooks.org/2015/08/12/what-is-human-systems-integration.

Ryan, Lisa. (2016, December 9). 11 Things That Happened in 2016 That Are Actually Worth Celebrating [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://nymag.com/thecut/2016/12/11-good-things-worth-celebrating-that-happened-in-2016.html.

Santhanam, Laura and Daub, Travis. (2016, December 29). 13 Undeniably Good Things That Happened in 2016 [Blog Post]. Retrieved from http://www.pbs.org/newshour/updates/13-undeniably-good-things-that-happened-in-2016/.

 

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