Below is a list of events that I believe have really shaped 2016 and the future. I devised this list through personal beliefs and also with the consensus of a few friends.
This past presidential election shook the world as Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton and was elected to be the new president of the United States. To me, the surprise is not necessarily rooted in his twisted ideologies; the surprise is instead rooted in the alarming amount of people who voted for him, despite his wicked thoughts. How did 61,201,031 (politico.com) American citizens believe that Donald Trump, a man with no prior political experience, with discriminatory practices, and with radical perspectives, is sane enough to lead a now divided country? The election of Donald Trump speaks volumes to the underlying racial undertones of this country and further pervades an understanding that people of color will always need to fight for their unguaranteed freedom. The aftermath of this election will have effects felt for years to come.
Charleston Trials (Michael Slager and Dylann Roof)
These two cases not only directly affected my own community, but it also affected the nation in which we all live. Michael Slager, the police officer who shot and killed an unarmed Black man in North Charleston, left South Carolina courts with a mistrial. The case will be brought to federal courts, as it also involves federal charges. Unfortunately, there is a trend of officers avoiding convictions, such as in the case with Tamir Rice and Philando Castile. Dylann Roof’s killing of 9 Black people at Mother Emmanuel in Downtown Charleston stunned the entire world. His trial is just beginning and has many different elements such as his non-guilty plea, the release of his confession, and his attempt to represent himself. This case especially will be monumental in history, as it encompasses the current racial climate, the downfalls of the justice system, and the direction this country will be going.
This year was another year full of police violence against unarmed African Americans. Each story is gruesome. Each story is heartbreaking. Each story is infuriating. Each story deserves justice. Each story should never be forgotten. According to a study conducted by the Washington Post, a total of 221 Black Americans have been shot AND killed by police this year; this number does not include victims who were shot and survived the incident. The rampant outcry of the public against police brutality has proved to effect the entire nation, as some protests have brought about real change to their communities. For example, body cameras have been implemented as a way to combat police brutality, even though this has not proved to be 100% effective. It will take many steps to keep striving to truly be the UNITED States of America.
This San Francisco 49ers Quarterback created a media uproar when he decided to not stand during the national anthem before the start of some of his football games this year. According to an article written by Steve Wynche, Kaepernick said, “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder,” when asked why he refused to stand (nfl.com). Kaepernick’s actions gained positive and negative national attention and also influenced the actions of other star athletes. He was successfully able to use his own platform to address the racial tension in America.
Even with these few notable events in 2016, America was still impacted by theOrlando shooting, Hurricane Matthew, the Flint Water Crisis, and the death of legends such as Prince and Mohammed Ali. Each year, the global social atmosphere shifts, and 2016 proves to be monumental in that social climate change. Make America Better for all citizens because when has America truly ever been great? Hopefully we will find our way back in 2017.