I sincerely hope that you had some moments of light in your personal lives in 2017. I certainly did, but that didn’t always distract from the depressing and at times downright terrifying moments in politics and society here and around the world. It was so easy to read through the news and feel as if it was all falling to pieces.
There has been one great result of the ever-expanding garbage fire, though: it has been a heck of a year for activism. So many organizations and individuals prompted me to donate and to share their stories on my social media because they’re a much-needed reminder that there are still so many kindhearted, compassionate people on this planet. And that’s what we need to keep fighting for.
Below are some moments during the past year that energized and distracted me from the madness going on in the news.
From Washington D.C. to Paris, France, we were fired up over the ghastly results of the 2016 election in January. Thousands marched in cities across the world to protest hate, racism, xenophobia, and the administration that promotes it all.
The organizers behind the Women’s March didn’t stop there, either. They’ve jumped in to fight against various injustices in the past few months, from birth control to immigration.
The Dream Act returned to lead the immigration discussion yet again as the administration launched their campaign against documented and undocumented immigrants alike. When Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) was abruptly brought to an end in September, immigrant youth amped up their fight for justice and a right to live in freedom and peace.
A beautiful moment in this struggle was the first ever pro-immigrant protest on an NBA basketball court. Led by Brown Issues, an immigration organization, it took place in Sacramento in November.
Colin Kaepernick Receives Legacy Award
Colin Kaepernick received the Muhammad Ali Legacy Award earlier this month, presented by surprise guest Beyonce. NFL player Kaepernick made headlines when he began kneeling during the National Anthem at games, attempting to bring awareness to the Black Lives Matter movement. The NFL essentially blackballed him in the following months, but their cowardly lack of support only propelled him as an activist.
This photo of Colin and Beyonce on the night that he received this award is a symbol of hope to me. With the many ways that black men and women are continually attacked, both verbally and physically, it’s amazing to see two of them shining and representing hope the way that they are.
The ACLU Tackles…Well, Everything
The ACLU made a pledge after the election to maintain American freedoms and boy, have they done their job in spades. I wouldn’t be surprised if they’ve actually set a record for lawsuits against a Presidential administration. It is so empowering to watch. From supporting those who were directly affected by the unconstitutional (and downright awful) Muslim ban through lawsuits to fighting back against the ending of DACA, they have been an essential force.
I encourage you to donate to the ACLU if you can. They are doing some important work for all of us, especially the groups who are being targeted openly in politics.
Here’s to the empowering moments of activism awaiting us in 2018. Keep up the fight.
Bradleigh is a co-founder and content curator for The Sirens Rise with a BA in Media Studies. Her favorite things to do are listen to music, get lost in a book, write for hours, and eat way more chocolate than one human being ever should.