Although the president insisted that he turned down the offer to be TIME Magazine’s Person of the Year, the publishers appeared to have gone an entirely different route from the get-go. This year, the magazine’s annual person of the year isn’t just one person: It’s thousands of people who have spoken up and out about harassment, women’s rights, and abuse, and exactly how and why these voices will be the ones most remembered when people look back at 2017.

The mag has dubbed these women and men “The Silence Breakers,” and their profile is both heartbreaking and hopeful. Sharing stories from the celebrity world, from working women in various fields from government to hospitality and everything in between, and even from Tarana Burke, the woman who originally created the #MeToo hashtag, TIME‘s feature paints a picture of how 2017 went from The Women’s March to today, and how these brave people are changing the way that we talk about gender and equality.

But why the silence breakers? In the profile, the magazine says, “these silence breakers have started a revolution of refusal, gathering strength by the day, and in the past two months alone, their collective anger has spurred immediate and shocking results: nearly every day, CEOs have been fired, moguls toppled, icons disgraced. In some cases, criminal charges have been brought.”

Citing the work of celebs like Ashley Judd, Rose McGowan, and Alyssa Milano, regular folks seeing celebrities speaking up has given rise to the movement of breaking silence unlike anything ever before. Powerful women coming forward has helped less-powerful individuals who have experienced abuse or harassment understand that what happened to them is just as valid. And it’s not just the women who have spoken out that are making waves.

Actor Terry Crews is also profiled. He came forward earlier this year after being groped at a party by a Hollywood executive. In the accompanying video, Crews says, “all the people who stand up, all the people who speak out, you are teaching people how to treat you — and you should not be shamed for that.”

Coinciding with the mag’s release today, Editor-in-Chief Edward Felsenthal was on Today to discuss their choice, telling co-hosts Hoda Kotb and Savannah Guthrie, “this is the 91st year we’ve named a Person of the Year; it’s always hard. But, it’s especially hard this year, a year of so much disruption in the United States and around the world.”

“This is the fastest moving social change we’ve seen in decades. And it began with individual acts of courage, hundreds of women, and some men, too, who came forward to tell their own stories of sexual harassment and assault.”

There’s no telling just where the #MeToo movement will go in 2018, but in honoring the power of victims from Hollywood, to those women still too afraid to name themselves publicly, TIME is helping usher in the speeding social change that has been brought about this year.

What do you think of TIME’s choice for Person of the Year? Tell us @BritandCo!

(Image via Getty)