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Finding The Bright Side In This Year’s News

A look back on a year of pain and hope.

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We began the school year days after Hurricane Harvey ravaged Houston, and we are ending the year with a school shooting that occurred only miles away from there, at Santa Fe High School in the Houston suburbs.

These tragedies in Texas are symbolic of the many dramatic events over the last 10 months. In our country, since September, we have witnessed horror and heartbreak. We have experienced natural disasters, partisan politics, and immense violence. However, we have also seen the good in humanity. We have seen the birth of movements that have started national conversations and have led people to come together to aid those in need.

In the fall, as the deadly hurricane season ravaged Houston, Florida, and Puerto Rico, people banded together to help others. In Houston, a group of civilian water rescuers known as the Cajun Navy risked their own lives to save stranded individuals. Images of these rescues and others just like them went viral and helped to spur donations from people around the world.

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A woman and her baby being rescued from the floods in Houston (Via: CNN)

There is no denying that the hurricanes that struck this year have had catastrophic damage, ending lives and uprooting families; however, the selfless actions of so many who committed to helping others, even putting themselves in danger, signify that there is light amidst the darkness.

One of the most significant and uplifting events of this year has been to rise of the #Me Too movement. Following the downfall of  Harvey Weinstein, men and women began to share their stories about sexual harassment. These reports of abuse brought down power players in fields from media to politics to entertainment. These stories exposed the trauma that so many people have faced and the silence that they have endured over the years. The movement also had a bright side, for it helped people to recognize that this is a pervasive issue and that we must be more understanding of the treatment of men and women in society.

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A cartoon on the amount of people with “Me too “stories in society. (Via: Daily Texan)

Just last week, Harvey Weinstein was arrested and will now face a trial for a few of the many crimes that he committed. Although arrests and firings can never take back the egregious actions perpetrated by those in power, they do show that, when people come together and believe in an important cause, meaningful change can result and can positively impact the future.

 

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Harvey Weinstein being led into court. (Via: CNN)

When it comes to the gun violence that has pervaded our nation over the past year, it is nearly impossible to find a silver lining. Since the beginning of our school year, we have seen massacres from Las Vegas to Sutherland Springs to Parkland to Santa Fe. There have also been so many stories that have not even made news headlines — the innocent children gunned down in Chicago, the battered wives murdered by their husbands, the children lost to accidental gunshot wounds.

Gun violence has been a common part of American life since before many of us can remember; yet, for some reason, this year it feels especially prevalent. Every shooting fills us with fear and hopelessness and a worry that this will never end.

The lives lost and the horror inflicted can never be undone. However, there is hope in what has occurred since the shooting at Parkland High School. The rise of student activism and the fury over the loss of innocent lives help us believe that perhaps one day we can find a way to reduce the availability of guns, decrease the violence, and live in a safer and more secure world.

 

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March For Our Lives (Via: NBC)

This was undoubtedly a year of extreme chaos but also a year of extreme change in our country. While it may be hard to see through all of the pain and suffering, there still was goodness shining through. This should give us all hope that, if we push hard enough and find the humanity in each other, we will see positive change and a better future in the years to come.

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Finding The Bright Side In This Year’s News