Written by Sarah Foot and Katherine Rendon
2015 was a tumultuous year in the social justice field. Issues of race, religion, sexuality and gender took the main stage for news coverage. It was a year of both trans visibility and violence, Planned Parenthood drama and pop-culture activism.
Here are some of our top picks for the biggest moments of the year.
A young boy named Ahmed brought a homemade to school, and what would normally be a scientific achievement was turned in to the exertion of blatant racism. The world, including NASA, were outraged and subsequently applauded the youth scientist.
This year, Planned Parenthood underwent attacks from groups in an attempt to get them defunded. After a falsified video surfaced of Planned Parenthood this year, terrorist threats and events intensified against abortion providers, most notably PP. In the United States, there have continued to be threats to funding and support from the government amid these troubling events. #IStandWithPP
3. Sandra Bland
The Sandra Bland case reminded us how we are not a “post-racial America” and how far we need to go in terms of racial justice. Rest in peace, Sandra.
As we are all rejoicing in the increase in trans visibility there has also been a dark offshoot. The violence targeted towards transgendered folks has risen starkly in 2015. Physical to cultural violence from TERFs, it seems the correlation between the two is very strong. From Caitlin Jenner to Ruby Rose, those who are not cis-gendered are gaining more visibility in mainstream culture.
(Our EIC Stephanie wrote a piece for Bitch on this.)
This monumental case marked a new era in American history, allowing for marriage between and among all genders. #loveislove
Some of these movies include Mad Max: Fury Road, Sisters, Tangerine, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens. These films included strong female leads, authentic trans actors/experiences and all around badassery.
Nicki Minaj unapologetically called out the racism and sexism she experiences as a Woman of Color in the music industry, holding the industry accountable for their actions.
8. ISIS Attacks
The extremist Islamist group ISIS targeted cities across the globe in terrorist attacks. In a couple horrific days in November, the cities of Paris, Beirut, and Baghdad were are victims of the senseless violence.
The site dedicated to helping people cheat on their partners was hacked and information was leaked about accounts on the website. The scandal made us think critically about what monogamy and personal information.
The failure to indict both Officers Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback hit the African American community hard and the #blacklivesmatter campaign continues to fight for racial justice in America. Many are calling on pop-culture influencers to take a stand as a sign of solidarity.
The Safe Campus Act was introduced by Congress and proposed to limit what a college can do when investigating sexual assault cases. Many sororities have spoken out against the bill saying it, in fact, poses more danger than benefit to college campuses.
As the war in Syria rages on, millions of innocent individuals are left without a place to call home. This year, we saw a rejection and subsequent outrage at the arrival of Syrian refugees to countries around the world.
13. Siza Mzimela
A South African woman began her own airline, Fly Blue Crane and has become the first African American woman to have her own airline.
14. Haben Girma
A deaf-blind African American is a Harvard Law school graduate who recently spoke at the White House. She is just… incredible.
15. Jasmine Twitty
A 25 year old African American woman has become the youngest judge to be sworn in in her town of Easley, South Carolina. She is an advocate for self-love and determination.
Target decided that gender based signs were not the best decision and decided to eradicate them. Even after facing backlash, Target stood by its choice and even had some witty replies to various opponents of the choice.
Finally, he has been charged. This year we saw woman after woman coming forward in solidarity with their experiences being sexually assaulted by the former Cosby Show star. On December 30, he was formally charged in his first case.
18. “Abortion Drone”
Our own wonderful and talented Sarah Foot discussed abortion drones giving women access to safe abortions in Poland.
19. Bree Newsome
A total badass, Bree Newsome climbed the flagpole outside of a courthouse in South Carolina to take down the racist and offensive Confederate flag as an act of civil disobedience.
Recent studies have finally debunked the age old cissexist assumption that there is such a thing as a ‘male’ and ‘female’ brain. Daphna Joel, the psychobiologist who made the discovery, wishes for an end to the focus on sex and gender as a definition for character.
[Featured image via]