You know we’re the kind of people who believe that the pint is always half full, but even we have to admit that 2018 has been pretty rough—like, “the pint is half full but it’s melted, and also somehow on fire” rough.
But you know what? Even when ice cream is on fire, it still tastes amazing. So, in that spirit, before we celebrate the start of a fresh new year, let’s take a look at some good news that’ll keep us going through the holidays and beyond. Here are seven times justice really did prevail in 2018.
Item number 1
Lifting Up the Voices of the Poor
We were privileged to be there when the new Poor People’s Campaign, A National Call for Moral Revival, launched its effort to bring people of all backgrounds together all across the country to fight systemic poverty, systemic racism, out-of-hand military spending, and environmental destruction. In 2018, building on MLK’s dreams for his original Poor People’s Campaign, the new movement kicked off 40 Days of Action, taking its message of unity and resistance to Washington, DC, and dozens of state capitals. Those rallies, events, and marches still have us feeling energized.
Item number 2
Renewables Continue to Surge
In 2018, renewable energy use continued to surge, and there’s no end in sight. Prices for wind and solar are dropping while US coal plants are being shuttered. The coal era is over—no matter what people say! This is good news! Well, mostly good news! The problem is that newer coal plants remain online elsewhere around the world. And though the shift to clean energy is accelerating, with 40% of the world’s energy predicted to come from renewables by 2040, it’s not happening fast enough to avoid the worst effects of global warming. Still: dirty fuels are on their way out. A clean-energy future is in sight, thanks to amazing organizing and visionary thinking from folks like the Sunrise Movement and their Green New Deal.
Item number 3
Brands Take a Stand
When Nike announced a powerful new marketing campaign featuring Colin Kaepernick, commentators in the media and on Twitter responded reasonably, even cautiously, to the news. Ha! No, just kidding. People freaked out. As a company that has a bit of a history taking positions on controversial issues, we thought it was important and impactful for Nike to take a stand in support of Kaepernick. In fact, two-thirds of consumers say that they want brands to weigh in on political and social issues—and brands are responding. Patagonia, for example, just announced that it would give the $10 million it received from the Trump tax cuts to environmental organizations. In 2018, staying silent is no longer an option.
Item number 4
A New Youth Movement
2018 was yet another year marked by gun violence. These tragedies unfold with disturbing regularity, but this year something shifted. This year, after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL, young people rose up and said enough is enough. Parkland students organized March For Our Lives, a coordinated series of events and marches held on March 24 all over the country where activists and citizens demanded common-sense gun regulations. They’re continuing to keep the pressure on politicians to enact meaningful legislation right now. This is far from the first time, of course, that young people have led the rest of us forward.
Item number 5
An All-Too-Rare Moment of Justice
In Chicago this year, the person who shot Laquan McDonald was convicted of murder. What makes this newsworthy? Laquan’s killer was a police officer. When police are charged with murder or manslaughter, it’s very rare for them to be convicted. These days, as the media, and society in general, has finally begun to focus on the awful number of young black men who routinely end up dead in confrontations with the police, it is good to see justice prevail. In 2019 we hope for less violence, and more justice.
Item number 6
This Election Day was one for the record books! Never before have so many women and people of color run for office. And never before have so many won! Let’s take a moment to celebrate the fact that on November 6, Americans elected the first-ever Native American congresswomen. They sent the first-ever Muslim congresswomen to DC too. Coloradans elected an openly gay man as governor for the first time in American history. The wonderful list goes on and on. It was a great day for diversity and hope.
Item number 7
Florida Said Yes to Second Chances
Florida was one of only four states that could permanently bar anyone with a felony conviction from ever voting again. Our friends at the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition (FRRC) worked hard to change that. Guess what? They won! Thanks to the overwhelming majority of Florida voters who came out in favor of Amendment 4, 1.4 million more people are now able to vote. That’s great for our friends and family in Florida, and it’s great for democracy too. And that, without a doubt, is a great way to end the year.