2016 Looking Back and Moving Forward

I have been trying to figure out just the right way to write this article without taking sides on any of the issues and just trying to help others and myself move foreword into 2017. 2016 has been jaded with mass shootings a total of 462 so far. During those 585 people were killed and 1,732 were wounded. ( https://www.massshootingtracker.org/data) It has been a time of unrest and uncertainty and certainly the year that everyone found something to find offensive. Legalized Gay marriage turned a year old in 2016, but, there are still many hurdles to climb. 29 states still do not have laws to prohibit housing discrimination, 30 states do not prohibit discrimination in public, 16 states still have no laws protecting  the hiring process. (https://www.theatlantic.com/news/archive/2016/06/gay-marriage-scotus/488816/). Even though President Obama announced the first national monument to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights (http://www.cnn.com/2016/06/24/travel/stonewall-inn-first-lgbt-national-monument/) there is still a long way to go.

By Rhododendrites (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0
We have seen “bathroom bill laws”, (http://time.com/3974186/transgender-bathroom-debate/), debates over the “religious freedom laws” (which seem to end up being a debate of whose religion matters and whose doesn’t), (http://dailysignal.com/2015/03/27/the-true-facts-about-religious-freedom-laws/), and an even more wide spread feel of racism and tension since the 1964 debates between Barry Goldwater and Lyndon B. Johnson. (http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2016-09-02/racial-tension-in-the-2016-presidential-election) It has become a time for not only the LGBT community to have fears, but also for any non-white Christian male.

As a Pagan and witch myself, and having been out of the broom closet for many years, I am not only in fear for my beliefs, but also the fact that I am a woman.

 

Woman holding a sign, listing black people killed by police, and after each name, "no conviction" for all but the two most recent.
Photo Credit: Kenya Coviak all rights reserved

We have had to deal with not trusting our own police officers the same ones who take an oath to honor and protect. As of this point in 2016 1,096 people have died at the hands of police. Many of whom were unarmed, mentally ill, and people of color. The bothersome part of all of this is that even with that total amount of people killed, several officers have gone to trial but, none have received jail time.  (https://thinkprogress.org/this-is-how-many-people-police-have-killed-so-far-in-2016-7f1aec6b7098#.tw3kiuw7x) It is no wonder why most of us are looking foreword to 2017 in hopes for a better year.

We lost 111 famous people in 2016 as well, and quite a few were a shock. David Bowie, Prince, Arnold Palmer and Alan Thicke to name just a few. It feels like this year has taken up back in time to a place we long thought to have grown from. The attacks on humanity itself have seemed over whelming. Suicide rates in the US are at the highest they have been in almost 30 years. Rates for middle-aged women, aged 45 to 64 have jumped 63 percent, and 43 percent for men in that age group. The suicide rate has risen 24 percent since 1999.

 

 

The nation’s suicide rate is the highest it has been since 1986 with 13 per 100,000 people. (http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/22/health/us-suicide-rate-surges-to-a-30-year-high.html?_r=0)

Image: Youth.gov

 

However, I do not want this to be all doom and gloom. There were several really good things that happened in 2016. Child mortality is down world wide and continuing to fall. New chemotherapy breakthroughs have increased the 5 year survival rate for pancreatic cancer from 16% to 27%. Coffee consumption has ben proven to help curtail cancer and suicide rates. Massive strides have been made in Alzheimer prevention.

The Anglican church resolved to solemnize same-sex unions the same as opposite-sex unions which required a super majority of all three orders of the church (lay, clergy, bishop).

Photo: Oscar Guzman

Death by heart disease has decreased by 70% in the United States. Over 800 Boko Harem Hostages were rescued by Nigerian Army. Pokémon Go players went insane with placing lure modules near hospitals for sick kids. Not to mention birthdays, family, friends, Thanksgiving, rainbows and even puppies to name just a few.  (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/11/11/amazing-list-of-good-things-that-happened-in-2016-delights-the-i/)

 

Will 2017 be better that 2016? Who knows, but, if we all work together and build up trust, respect, and communication with each other, I believe this could be one of the best years yet.

Hopefully we can all take the negative things that have happened over the course of this year and turn them around into positive things. Remember to call family, tell people you love them, value friendship, be kind to each other and most of all be a role model for others to aspire to. Be the best possible you that you can be and be true to yourself. Hopefully we as the human race can fix what has been broken and start mending this planet before it is too late.

 

 

 

 

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