It’s been another rough year.
The divisiveness of the 2016 presidential election spilled over into 2017; natural disasters in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico devastated communities; and the White House ordered the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to ban words like “transgender,” “fetus” and “science-based” from its 2018 budget documents, though the CDC director denies the ban.
But in dark times, there is always light. We compiled the following list of positive 2017 stories from the Washington Post and Bloomberg.
• The Women’s March in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 21, 2017, drew three times as many people as President Donald Trump’s inauguration. In addition, between three and four million people protested in the streets at more than 650 marches nationwide that day.
• The U.S. court system stood up against Trump’s travel ban and his attempts to both prohibit transgender people serving in the military and de-fund ‘sanctuary cities.’
• On Aug. 21, we celebrated the first visible solar eclipse since 1979. It was a lovely reminder of the wonders of the natural world.
• Both the world and U.S. economies continued to grow, continuing one of the most sustained economic expansions ever in the wake of the 2008 financial crash.
• The prevalence of sexual harassment became part of the national consciousness. Those who had been harassed and assaulted in the workplace spoke up – in huge numbers. From Hollywood to Congress, it became clear that men have been abusing their power for too long.
• Roy Moore, a Republican candidate in the state of Alabama, lost an election for the U.S. Senate. It was significant that he lost in a traditionally conservative state and that his history of preying upon teenage girls in his 30s proved unacceptable to voters.
• Britain’s Prince Harry proposed to Meghan Markle, a biracial, divorced, American citizen. Not long ago that would have prohibited her from entering the British royal family.
• Mattel unveiled a hijab-wearing Barbie, modeled on Olympic fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad, who was the first Muslim American woman to win an Olympic medal.
• Progress was made in gene therapy. The Food and Drug Administration approved a treatment where a healthy gene is injected to replace defective copies of the gene into patients with a type of hereditary blindness. Earlier in 2017, another method of genetic therapy was approved for treatment of childhood leukemia.
• China has banned all domestic sales of ivory products. According to the Asia Times, poaching for the trade in ivory is estimated to claim about 30,000 elephants around the world every year. A total of 172 ivory carving factories and retail outlets will close by the end of 2017 as part of China’s policy.
Staff at The Journal of the San Juans, The Islands’ Sounder and Islands’ Weekly wish you a happy new year and look forward to positive 2018 stories.