Olivia Cattabriga / art director

Lindsay Gibbons

Equinox Staff

We’re officially one month into the new year. Reflecting back on 2018, many would say it was quite a year! In past years, the media has tended to focus on all the negative issues going on in the world, but in this past year especially, there were a lot of really great things that happened, too.

        For starters, we accomplished some great things for women’s rights around the globe. According to Global Fund for Women, in May of 2018, Uruguay saw the first conviction for femicide—the murder of women because of their gender—since it officially became a crime in October 2017. In June, Spain also made history by appointing a cabinet that had females as a majority—11 of 17, or almost two thirds.

        Here in our own backyard, women—particularly women of color—broke records in the United States Midterm elections. According to a report from the Brookings Institution, more women in powerful, lawmaking decisions means more legislations that affects women and families in a positive way.         

In this day and age, just about anyone can scrounge up thousands of followers on social media -But only certain people manage to use their social media voice to help bring attention to marginalized voices and help organize on-the-ground movements.

        Among them is Ady Barkan, who suffers from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, an incurable and degenerative disease better known as ALS. Barkan is known for his work in protecting the Affordable Care Act and his related Be A Hero campaign. According to CNN, Barkan has joined forces with Kamala Harris of California and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts as part of a 22-state Be A Hero tour. This tour mobilized voters and raised awareness about healthcare. Although it’s becoming more difficult as the disease progresses, Barkan says he will continue giving speeches until he is no longer able to.

Education also made some great strides during 2018. Technology is sweeping through the classrooms, becoming more and more prevalent each passing day. While some may view this as a bad thing, technology in the classroom can have many benefits to students.

        New technologies like AI, machine learning, and educational software are doing more than just changing the field for students. They’re beginning to alter the role of the educators. This creates new ways for teachers to remodel their classrooms. With the influx of technology flooding in on an almost daily basis, educational methods are bound to change soon, which can mean good things for students and teachers.         

Clean water also made improvements in 2018. According to the organization, World Vision, since 2010, 12.5 million people around the globe have gained access to safe drinking water. By 2020, the organization is aiming to bring clean drinking water to 20 million people in 36 different countries. This organization is a true blessing to people around the world without clean water, as it estimates it reaches one new person with clean water every ten seconds.

        World Vision expects to see more significant results over the next five years by improving access to safe drinking water and improving sanitation and hygiene education throughout communities. This can lead to a significant reduction in child deaths, an increase in children able to attend school, and an increase in income in water related activities which can generate income.

        There were also some big wins for animal rights in 2018. In the 2018 midterm elections, California voters approved a law that requires larger cages for pigs and chickens. Nearly 400 companies, including Hyatt and Marriott, became committed to making better conditions for their animals.

        On the other side of the country, the thirteenth amendment was overwhelmingly welcomed by voters in Florida. This amendment bans greyhound racing in the state. This new law will come into effect over the next two years.

Employment in America also has flew up. According to reports from federal economists, the U.S. economy added 312,000 jobs in December. This overwhelmingly exceeds the expectations for year-end growth. According to the National Public Radio, in September 2018, the unemployment rate dropped to 3.7 percent, the lowest it’s been since 1969.  All in all, 2018 was the best year for new employment creations since 2015.

The average wage also grew by 8 cents. According to WCVB, In June 2018, Massachusetts governor, Charlie Baker signed a bill that will progressively increase the minimum wage in Massachusetts over the next several years. Wages will begin to rise from $11 an hour to eventually reach $15 an hour. The minimum wage increase began on January 1 2019, when minimum wage was set to $12 an hour. Minimum wage will continue to increase by 75 cents each year until it hits $15 an hour in 2023. Wages for tipped workers will also increase to $6.75 by 2023.

Although 2018 had its downfalls, we can still look back and say that we made incredible strides towards the right direction. While there are certainly unacceptable problems going on in the world, there is also a lot of good. Where is the love? All around us.

Click here for this articles sister article- Where is the love: Far, far Away