Action against gun control
There were over 300 mass shootings in 2018, and Americans are more likely to die from gun violence than many leading causes of death combined. After the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL, people had enough. On March 24th in Washington, D.C. the student-led March For Our Lives demonstration took place in support of tighter gun control. It was one of the largest protests in American history. No matter your stance on The Second Amendment, we can all agree that these deaths need to stop. Thanks to protests such as this, the conversations surrounding gun control are beginning to expand and hopefully change.
The Golden State killer apprehended after 32 years
I’ll Be Gone In the Dark by Michelle McNamara sparked a frenzy of interest into a case that went cold in the late 80s. A crime writer, McNamara lead an exhaustive investigation into the serial killer’s identity, which in turn reignited an urgency to solve the case. Joseph James DeAngelo was arrested in April, and victims finally had their time to heal.
Wildfires in California
The end of the year wrecked havoc in California in more ways than one. On top of the tragic Thousand Oaks mass shooting, multiple wildfires burned in both northern and southern California, causing the most damage on record and displacing tens of thousands of people. It’s been a test of resilience and compassion, and one that we shouldn’t forget.
The wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle was not to be missed! It was widely reported as being significant for its departure from tradition typically associated with the Royal Family and for its inclusion of African-American culture in the service. Reports described the wedding as a landmark for African Americans, for Black British, black and mixed-race women, and for the Royal Family itself.
One of the more exciting and fun events this year was the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. There were many firsts to celebrate as a nation. U.S. Olympian Chloe Kim became the youngest woman to win a medal for halfpipe in snowboarding where she won gold, and Miari Nagasu became the first U.S. woman to land a triple axel at the Olympics. But the Winter Games weren’t just about competitive milestones, it also celebrated human rights. Adam Rippon and Gus Kenworthy competed as the only openly gay Olympians on Team USA. Although not a big number, it’s the kind of step towards change that we desperately need.
2018 midterm elections breaks history
More women are running for congress and winning, and nothing proved this more than the 2018 midterm elections. The U.S. House of Representatives elected a record number of women, and individual candidates also achieved historic firsts. To name a few, Democrats Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib became the first Muslim women elected to Congress, Democrats Deb Haaland and Sharice Davids became the first Native American women elected to Congress, Republican Kristi Noem became the first female governor of South Dakota, and Republican Krysten Sinema became the first openly bisexual senator and first female senator from Arizona.
Child immigrants being separated from parents
Perhaps one of the more unsettling events of 2018 was the separation and detainment of immigrant children from their parents. It’s hard to forget the images of the children in distress after the Trump administration’s crackdown on immigration. Headlines were dominated by the event and caused massive outrage across the world. Although the government has been urged to move faster to reunite families, we as a country, have a lot more to do, and hopefully 2019 brings about more necessary change.
Supreme Court confirmation hearings
All eyes were glued to the hearing of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and Dr. Christine Blasey Ford in September, as Blasey Ford accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault. It was gripping, and sparked outrage and SNL skits. Regardless of the outcome, Blasey Ford’s courage in coming forward will only propel movements like #MeToo and be the catalysts we need for change.
#MeToo goes global
Speaking of #MeToo, 2018 was the year the movement went global. Millions around the world shared their stories and advocated for change. In fact, the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded jointly to Congolese physician Denis Mukwege and Yazidi assault survivor Nadia Murad for their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict.
Saudi Arabia lets women drive
Another significant moment in women’s rights came when Saudi Arabia lifted it’s ban on allowing women to drive. After years of campaigning and protesting, women were finally allowed to take the wheel. Although the Kingdom is prosecuting those that protested, it’s a big win for women.