Let’s face it: 2017 was tough. Donald Trump became president and politics became more polarized than ever, there were 428 mass shootings, the FCC voted to get rid of net neutrality, hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria killed hundreds of people and caused widespread devastation to multiple communities, and many beloved celebrities including Tom Petty died It’s been a year of constant bad news… how did we even make it through?
Even though 2017 was packed to the gills with tragedies and hardships on all fronts, there were in fact also plenty of good things that happened. From millions of people voicing unity in dissent, to acts of heroism during horrific shootings, and the birth of Beyoncé’s twins, there were enough happy and inspiring moments that got us through the year.
Here are some of the better moments from 2017, a year we can’t exactly say we’ll miss. But at least we got Salt Bae.
millions marched against trump
The election of Donald Trump was some combination of terrifying, heartbreaking, infuriating, and surprising for many people both in the US and around the world. Though his election (and now presidency) was not really seen as encouraging to a lot of people, millions of people around the world joined together for the Women’s March on January 21, 2017, the day after Trump was inaugurated. In the US alone, between 3 and 4 million people gathered in Washington DC, Chicago, Los Angles, New York, and beyond, in a show of force against the new administration. The start of Trump’s presidency definitely marked a moment of trepidation, but women and their allies ensured that the new era started off with a fight.
the age of salt bae commenced
Can you believe we only just met Salt Bae this year?! Turkish chef Nusret Gökçe, AKA Salt Bae, was thrust into internet super-stardom when an Instagram video of his fancy knife skills and signature salt flourish went viral early this year. Salt Bae, who earned crush status for his killer abs as much as his expert cooking abilities, now has more than 10 million followers on Instagram. His frequent posts brought joy to many millions this year, and for that, we salute him.
the us got the first ever muslim women’s day
Amani Al-Khatahtbeh, Muslim activist and founder of MuslimGirl.com, has been tackling Islamophobia and making space for Muslim girls and women for years. In 2017, she started the first ever Muslim Women’s Day in the US. The inaugural Muslim Women’s Day was held on March 27th, and helped boost awareness for all of the amazing contributions of Muslim women. In a time when the government is trying to ban Muslims from entering the US and way too much of the country buys into Islamophobia, Al-Khatahtbeh’s major celebration of Muslim women made 2017 better.
we saw a total solar eclipse
Nature always finds a way to bring some good into the world. This summer, many in the US had the chance to witness a rare total eclipse of the sun, or at least see part of the eclipse. Making the event extra special: Bonnie Tyler sang her awesome ’80s hit “Total Eclipse of the Heart” while the eclipse happened. The total eclipse was a nice break from the constant barrage of terrible news, and the memes ribbing Trump for looking right at the sun with his bare eyes weren’t bad either.
the hollywood sign got a temporary update
Goodness knows we all needed a bit of comedic relief after the election season, and one hero in California delivered in a big way. Right off the bat on New Years Day, someone changed the famous Hollywood sign to say “Hollyweed.” For a brief shining moment, the internet was transfixed on the prank. More of this in 2018, please!
jonathan smith saved 30 people in las vegas
On October 1, a gunman opened fire on a crowd attending a country music festival on the Las Vegas strip. A total of 58 people were killed and 546 were injured in the horrific shooting. The tragedy shook the nation, but a man who helped save dozens during the shooting captivated the country as well. Jonathan Smith, a 30-year-old dad who was on the strip for the music festival helped save 30 people from the gunfire, getting shot himself in the process. Smith recovered from his wound, and went on to receive national recognition for his bravery.
Moonlight Won Best picture
The Oscars ended on a confusing and cringe-worthy note this year. Because of an envelope snafu, La La Land was called to the stage for the Best Picture award, but partway through the acceptance speeches, La La Land producer Jordan Horowitz made a correction: Moonlight was the actual winner of the Best Picture category. The moment was extremely awkward, but still ultimately a wonderful one for the producers, director, and cast of Moonlight. Based on the play In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue by Tarell Alvin McCraney, who co-wrote the movie version with Jenkins, Moonlight won awards and audiences with its moving depiction of a gay black man’s life.
scientists found a new treatment for ALS
ALS, also called Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a rare and fatal disease that kills motor nerves cells in the brain and spinal cord. The disease currently has no cure, and until recently, there were very few treatment options. But this year, Israeli scientists made a major breakthrough in the treatment of ALS that could also help people with Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, according to the Times of Israel.
beyoncé had twins
After months of anticipation, fans were elated with Queen Bey gave birth to twins on June 13. Beyoncé, Jay-Z, and their oldest daughter Blue Ivy welcomed Rumi and Sir into their family, and social media went bonkers for the new babies when Beyoncé posted the first public photos of them in July. Jay and Bey’s growing family was no doubt a pop culture highlight of the year.
afghan girls robotics team won big
In July, a robotics team of six teen girls from Afghanistan were denied the necessary visas to enter the US for the FIRST Global Challenge in Washington, DC The girls were crushed, but at the last minute, President Trump (of all people!) allowed the girls to enter the country so they could compete. The team won hearts and a “courageous achievement” award at the competition, then went on to win first place at Robotex, a major robotics competition in Europe this November. The team showed the world that girls can do anything, even when the odds are against them.
#MeTOo gained national traction
While the general public only just became aware of the Me Too campaign, it was created a decade ago by Tarana Burke to empower victims of sexual assault in under-served communities. Burke’s “Me Too” battle cry was thrust into the national spotlight after several women publicly accused Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein of rape and sexual assault. The Weinstein allegations opened a floodgate: a total of 100 men in powerful positions in Hollywood, the media, music, politics, and beyond have been accused of sexual misconduct this year. While each allegation is horrifying, many women are encouraged that a cultural shift may be taking place, and many more people are understanding just how huge of a problem sexual abuse is.
What were some of your favorite moments in 2017? Tell us on Twitter @BritandCo.
(Images via Getty)