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17 Good Things that Happened in 2017

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17 Good Things that Happened in 2017

Many can agree that 2017 was undoubtedly a eventful year, to say the least, than most. Most of us are probably ready to put the previous year behind us and start anew in 2018. However, a few rays of light occasionally shone through the gaps in the gloomy year, reminding us that humanity and joy still existed in the world. Below is a list of 17 good things, small and big, that occurred in 2017.


  1. On Jan. 21 and 22, women took to the streets to advocate legislature and policies regarding human rights and other issues, such as women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, and racial equality. 408 marches took place in the U.S., making the Women’s March the largest single-day protest in U.S. history; a total of 673 rallies were held worldwide on all seven continents. Most were aimed at Donald Trump immediately following his presidential inauguration, mainly due to his offensive and misogynist statements and stances.
  2. In a shocking twist, Moonlight was announced as best picture at the Oscars. Presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway had been given the wrong winner’s envelope, leading them to mistakenly crown La La Land champion over Moonlight. Moonlight’s director has called the moment “messy, but kind of gorgeous,” which should also be good enough for the rest of us.
  3. Boat owners from far and wide mobilized to help families who were stranded in flooded homes after Hurricane Harvey. Local reporter Brandi Smith also stopped during a live broadcast to flag down and alert sheriff’s deputies to a man trapped in a semi truck, saving his life.
  4. After Hurricane Harvey struck, pets and rescue animals were stranded when shelters were overcrowded or refused to let animals in. Southwest Airlines stepped in and transported a plane full of animals from Houston to San Diego, where they found new homes through the Helen Woodward Animal Center.
  5. In an overwhelming vote on Dec. 9, Australia’s Parliament legalized same-sex marriage after years of fierce debate. Whereas before, marriage was legally defined as “the union of a man and a woman,” it has since been changed to “the union of two people.”
  6. In April, Peggy Whitson made history by setting the record for most days spent in space by a U.S. astronaut. With what was then 534 days, 2 hours, and 29 minutes, she broke the previous record of 534 days set by Jeff Williams. She returned to Earth on Sept. 3, with a total of 665 days spent in space over the course of her career.
  7. In May, Brazil’s health ministry announced the end of the Zika virus crisis, which came to global attention two years ago. The health ministry reported that a mosquito eradication program was the key to bringing Zika infection rates under control. It obviously worked.
  8. Israeli scientists at Ben-Gurion University announced a new treatment for ALS, otherwise known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, a disease where motor nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord are damaged and killed by glial cells, eventually causing death. The scientists have found a way to stop the increased activity of glial cells, restoring the nervous system’s immune defenses and increasing life expectancy.
  9. Women in Saudi Arabia were granted permission to drive in June. Although it’s small progress in the modern 21st century, progress is still progress nonetheless.
  10. On Aug. 21, people across the U.S. were able to witness a total solar eclipse, the first since 1979. For a few minutes, everyone got to look up in shared awe at the wonders of the universe. Don’t worry if you missed it, there’s another coming up in 2024.
  11. Which brings up Roy Moore, a Republican candidate in the state of Alabama who lost a special election for U.S. Senate. Women whom he had preyed on when he was in his mid-30s when they were mere teenagers stepped forward and brought his dark past to light.
  12. 16-year-old Carter Wilkinson from Nevada earned a year’s worth of chicken nuggets from Wendy’s after getting the most retweeted tweet of all time. In addition to forking over the nuggets, Wendy’s also donated $100,000 to the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, which Wilkinson asked his followers to donate to.
  13. Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai, who was shot in the head by the Taliban five years ago for trying to go to school, began classes at the University of Oxford at Lady Margaret Hall, the same college that Benazir Bhutto, the first female prime minister of Pakistan, had attended.
  14. Mattel introduced a “sport, hijab-wearing” Barbie modeled after Olympic fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad, the first Muslim American woman to win an Olympic medal. Ms. Muhammad has said that she hopes that the doll will inspire other girls “to embrace what makes them unique.”
  15. RenovaCare developed a device called the SkinGun that sprays burn victims with their own stem cells so that damaged skin can regrow without the scars that usually accompany healed burns. The SkinGun is still awaiting FDA approval, but it has already proven successful with both patients in the U.S. and Germany.
  16. In November, Prince Harry and actress Meghan Markle announced their engagement. Markle, who is biracial, divorced, and American, defies all British royal tradition, bringing a refreshing change to the monarchy. An outspoken feminist and activist, she plans to use her new position to bring awareness to important issues.
  17. Many attendees wore black and sported corresponding #MeToo pins at the 75th Golden Globe Awards in support of the Time’s Up movement, which was founded in response to the Weinstein effect…
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17 Good Things that Happened in 2017