The Most Important Events Of 2016

most important events of 2016

The 2016 Presidential Electio
This year’s presidential election may go down as one of the most contentious and surprising elections in the history of the United States. Bernie Sanders changed political fundraising when he shunned big money and was able to fund his campaign by making small donors the core of his fundraising strategy and Hillary Clinton was the first woman of a major party to be nominated for President in the United States. Donald Trump got the last laugh, winning the election, after political experts dismissed him his chances after he announced his long shot Presidential bid in June. Trump is one of only 5 Presidents to still to win the office but lose the popular vote, and he is the first American President with no prior government and/or military experience. As if things couldn't get any weirder, The CIA concluded with “high confidence” that Russia had acted to help elect Trump and that Russian President Vladimir Putin personally authorized the operation. The FBI subsequently concurred with that conclusion.

presidential election

The Brexit vote was a huge story in international politics in 2016, and the 52% majority vote to leave the European Union sparked protests across the nation. 

We all remember the cases of Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Walter Scott, Sandra Bland and so many others of years past. And with the high profile murders of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile in 2016, the conversation surrounding the murder of people of color at the hands of police continued to spread like wildfire, while the Black Lives Matter movement proved to be one of the most important activist groups of our time.

The World Health Organization (WHO) declared an international health emergency over the spread of the Zika virus, which cases serious birth defects, particularly Microcephaly, a condition which causes newborns to be born with brain damage unusually small heads. The epidemic spread across Latin America and the Caribbean and in late July, Florida announced the first locally transmitted case of the virus in the United States. The WHO declared in November that the Zika epidemic was no longer a global health emergency. As of December, the Center for Disease Control had documented 824 cases of Zika-infected pregnancies in the United States.

The months-long protests by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and thousands of Water protectors against the Dakota Access Pipeline was the biggest Native American protest in history. The Sioux Tribe and the Protectors were finally victorious in December when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers halted the construction of the pipeline.

standing rock

After the city of Flint, Michigan, a majority-black city where 40 percent of people live in poverty, changed its water source to the Flint River, its drinking water had a series of problems that culminated with lead contamination, creating a serious public health danger which prompted President Obama to declare a federal state of emergency there.  Four government officials resigned over the mishandling of the water crisis, one was fired, and 13 criminal cases have been filed against local and state officials. High amounts of lead levels in blood can cause learning disabilities, behavioral problems and mental retardation, according to the World Health Organization.

The mass shooting at Pulse nightclub in June killed 49 people, who were mostly LGBTQ and Latino. The shooting is the one the deadliest in the history of the United States.

orlando massacre

Governments of more than 190 nations gathered in Paris to discuss a possible new global agreement on climate change, aimed at reducing global greenhouse gas emissions and thus avoiding the threat of dangerous climate change, and the Paris Agreement was born. The agreement brings all nations into a common cause to undertake efforts to combat climate change and adapt to its effects. 2016 was the hottest year on record. In fact, including 2016, sixteen of the seventeen hottest years on record have occurred in this century. Increased drought, violent storms, rising sea levels and dislocation due to migration are just some of the havoc that climate change is wrecking, and this story is one that will affect all of humanity. 

The North Carolina "bathroom bill" requires people to use the bathroom that coincides with their assigned sex at birth, eliminating protections for the LGBTQ community and limiting bathroom access for transgender individuals. Businesses and celebrities protested the bill, Businesses and celebrities protested the bill. Some musicians refused to hold concerts there, businesses like PayPal declined to bring approximately 400 jobs into the state, and the NBA threatened to pull its 2017 All-Star Game from the state. State legislators failed to repeal the law last week.

bathroom bill

Harriet Tubman, the courageous ex-slave and the most renowned abolitionist, was made the face of the new $20. She is the first woman and first African American to be represented on American currency, the most sweeping and historically symbolic makeover of American currency in a century.

How could we forget the haunting images of the drowned toddler washed ashore, the stunned five year old boy in the back of an ambulance having just been rescued from a bombing, and the German Rescuer holding the tiny body of a drowned infant. Since the Syrian civil war began in 2011, 13.5 million Syrians are in need of humanitarian assistance, creating the worst humanitarian crisis of our time.  Nearly 5 million Syrians are refugees, having sought shelter in neighboring countries and another 6 million have been forced from their homes but remain displaced within Syria. Over 3,800 have died at sea trying to flee the violence. In December, a ceasefire deal was struck, allowing remaining rebel forces and civilians to evacuate the fallen city of Aleppo. 

syrian refugee crisis

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