Originally posted on the Small Victories website
Guys! We made it to the end of the year. Holy moly, what a year it has been. Before we go off and do some serious celebrating (aka naps for days), we decided to do a roundup of all that we have accomplished… and maybe went a little overboard, but we couldn’t help ourselves. If you want to see all 800+ victories we tracked this year, head on over to our archives.
We hope this year in review will pump you up for 2018—between the November midterms and the fight for Dreamers, we have a BIG year ahead. Looking back on all we’ve accomplished, we’re feeling oh-so-ready to take on next year.
And if there’s one thing we learned from 2017, it’s this:
1. First, the White House is a hot mess
SO MANY White House staff and appointees didn’t even make it through the first year:
👎 Michael Flynn lasted less than month.
👎 Sean Spicer resigned as White House press secretary after 6 months.
👎 Trump’s Communications Director quit.
👎 Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price is gone. #NoMorePrivatePlanesOnOurDime
👎 Trump’s cybersecurity advisors took a stand and resigned en masse.
👎 Lots of other Trump officials didn’t last either.
2. Our voices are being heard
It hadn’t been 48 hours into 2017 before we had our very first victory—remember when the House GOP dropped their bid to gut the Office of Congressional Ethics? The press reported that people’s phone calls made the difference. We were just warming up.
We broke records with the number of phone calls we made to Washington this year, and people regularly held their elected officials accountable at town halls and protests—many of them by newly-formed Indivisible groups. According to Indivisible, by April alone, 250,000 people had attended 450 marches, town halls, and other events. #Incredible
Sometimes it seemed like we were out at a protest every day:
💪 In February, thousands attended Not My President’s Day rallies in dozens of cities.
💪 Dinosaurs rallied outside the White House to protest proposed budget cuts that could lead to the “extinction” of service programs like AmeriCorps.
💪 Some of the protests were (literally) out of this world.
Rhode Islanders showed us all how it’s done when they interrupted Senator Whitehouse’s dinner and demanded answers for his cabinet votes.
Even the rain and snow wouldn’t stop us. And when Congress went on recess, people made sure it was far from relaxing. Everyone standing up and speaking out—like 16-year-old Deja Foxx—made a difference in more ways than one.
Some elected officials skipped their town halls, so their constituents got creative. Groups have been:
👀 Holding candlelight vigils for their safe return
👀 Singing songs to woo them into a hosting events
👀 Using one of our favorite Easter treats to get their point across
👀 Convening their own town halls
👀 Or going the milk carton route to try and find them
Plus, Democratic representatives held town halls in Republican districts, since their Republican counterparts can’t take the heat.
One of our favorite stories: Indivisible Missouri wanted a town hall with their senator, but he was in Tennessee holding a fundraiser. So Indivisible Tennessee paid him a visit, delivered their constituent letter, and held a rally on their behalf.
After Senator Daines helped block Elizabeth Warren from reading Coretta Scott King’s letter on the Senate floor, a group of women showed up at his office and read it to him.
We also saw students walk out during Mike Pence’s commencement address at Notre Dame; a small, conservative Christian college protest a visit from Pence; and Harvard students pull off a stunning silent protest against Betsy DeVos.
And while we don’t approve of the majority of her voting record, even Susan Collins said it was constantly hearing from her constituents that made her vote no on the healthcare bill.
3. It was the year of the feminist
When Bill O’Reilly was fired from Fox News for sexual harassment, who knew that was only the tip of the iceberg? The #MeToo movement took the country by storm this year, though it was created by Tarana Burke over 10 years ago. Every day, the list of powerful men held accountable for sexual harassment and assault gets longer.
4. And when it comes to getting the f out of our uterus…
Handmaids popped up across the country, from Texas to Ohio, to defend reproductive rights. They even convinced Illinois’ Republican governor to sign a bill protecting and expanding reproductive rights.
Oregon is paving the way for the country by now requiring insurers to cover free reproductive health services, regardless of a patient’s income, citizenship status, or gender identity.
But this movement isn’t just in blue states—anti-abortion laws were defeated in red states, too:
Federal judges temporarily blocked companies from opting-out of covering birth control; Massachusetts is now guaranteeing free birth control; and New Mexico will let pharmacists prescribe contraceptives without involving a doctor.
5. Our health care is here to stay
Groups like ADAPT and Indivisible led thousands of protests, 24-hour vigils, sit-ins, and die-ins to save our care. They were arrested again and again, and never stopped telling their members of Congress that the ACA is here to stay.
And looking ahead, we’re thrilled that the movement for single-payer health care is gaining steam. (It would work!) And while this guy messed up big time, his Medicare-for-All bill, along with and Bernie Sanders’ bill are garnering more support than ever before. #FreeCare4All
6. We had wins for racial justice
We saw brave people risk their lives to stop white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia. Thousands of people held solidarity rallies in at least 16 states and in front of the White House. And when Trump doubled down on his defense of white supremacists (are you f%#?ing kidding), his advisors started resigning.
After Charlottesville, whenever white supremacists tried to rally, people were ready to stop them. Their events were turned down by cities, colleges, and, in one case, 62 different venues. Other times, alt-right organizers dropped out or couldn’t get enough people to attend, so they canceled events. When they did rally, counterprotesters overwhelmingly outnumbered white supremacists, and people drowned them out, chased them away, and found fun and creative ways to disrupt them. Even Juggalos had them beat. #WhateverWorks 🙃
Companies and websites started banning neo-Nazis, and one particular bigot was fired, lost his book deal, and was exposed for collaborating with white supremacists. Breitbart’s traffic plummeted, and almost 4,000 companies—nearly 90% of its advertisers—have pulled their ads from the site. 👏💸
🔨 Yale University 🔨 University of Oregon 🔨 University of Texas 🔨 National Cathedral 🔨 New York City (x2) 🔨 Maryland (x2) 🔨 Dallas, TX 🔨 Mississippi 🔨 Memphis, TN 🔨 Florida 🔨 Massachusetts 🔨 California 🔨 Montana 🔨 Kentucky 🔨 North Carolina 🔨 Hollywood, FL 🔨 New Orleans (this video 🙌)
In Durham, NC, protesters didn’t wait for the city—they tore a statue down on their own. When the cops went looking for the person who did it, hundreds of people turned themselves in at the police station in solidarity. ❤️
Students disrupted speeches by Betsy DeVotrumps and James Comey to hold them accountable for racist comments and actions. And on separate occasions, thousands marched for justice for Philando Castile, Anthony Lamar Smith, black women’s rights, and against state violence.
7. Immigrants are welcome here
Sanctuary cities and states stepped up their support for our immigrant community, barring police and city employees from working with ICE, prohibiting the expansion of immigrant detention centers, and paying legal fees for Dreamers and undocumented residents.
People raised their voices and helped free three different Dreamers, a young mother with a brain tumor, a ten-year-old girl, and a father whose ICE arrest was filmed by his crying 13-year-old daughter.
Dreamers and allies across the country marched, rallied, walked out of schools (and straight into the Senate), occupied politicians’ offices, held vigils, poured out in the streets, flooded into Trump’s DC hotel, blocked streets, disrupted parades, and sued the federal government. But the fight for DACA isn’t over yet—the next few weeks will be crucial.
Trump’s border wall plan has basically disappeared after funding for it was dropped from the government spending bill, and California is suing to prevent it from being built. We also love this group that convinced the CEO of a contracting company to retract their bid to build the wall. #DontDoIt
And just look at all the wonderful ways communities showed their support:
💞 Cheering immigrant children on their first day of school
💞 Painting the border fence away
💞 Trolling Trump’s anti-immigrant hotline with reports of space aliens
💞 Staging a quinceañera at the Texas capitol
💞 Making a Confederate statue of Jeff Sessions and tearing it down
💞 Hosting a picnic across the US-Mexico border
💞 Thousands of immigrants went on strike (and businesses closed in solidarity) for a nationwide Day Without Immigrants.
As of this week, Arizona can no longer ban Mexican-American studies from schools. Oh, and one last shout out to a group of immigrant youth who defeated an anti-immigrant program in Houston. Check out their interactive timeline to how they made it happen in just two years.
Courts continued to rule against the ban and all new iterations of the ban, including a new ruling against version 3.0 this week. Now, we’ll have wait to see what the Supremes say. This piece with the latest updates is worth a read.
As Trump’s dangerous rhetoric hit local communities, people stepped up to support. After a Texas mosque burned down, the town’s Jewish community gave their Muslim neighbors the keys to their synagogue, over $1 million in donations flooded in to help them rebuild, and more than 1,000 people formed a human shield around Muslims at the state capitol.
9. Love is love is love is love
👏 Illinois banned “gay panic” defenses and made it easier to correct genders to birth certificates.
People threw LGBTQ+ dance parties outside Mike Pence’s home—the videos make us want to dance right now. They also rallied on the Trans Day of Visibility, blocked anti-trans bigots, marched in an intersectional Pride protest, and disrupted Pride parades to protest military and corporate sponsors. 🌈
midterTons of Wyoming men wore tutus to protest their Republican senator’s comments; the Boy Scouts are now accepting transgender members; and the Native American Osage Nation voted for marriage equality.
10. The world has spoken: climate change is real
From the moment Trump came into office, people accelerated the fight for environmental and climate justice. After the Trump administration banned federal science agencies from tweeting, their employees created more than 30 “rogue” Twitter accounts, some with more followers than the official accounts. And we also got Trump to remove the gag order on USDA scientists the same day it was announced.
When Scott Pruitt questioned the impact of climate change, so many outraged people called the EPA that the office had to set up an impromptu call center. And the more data the EPA deleted from their website, the more people preserved and republished it, including EPA employees themselves. #NotSoFast
Cities and states took matters into their own hands: Maryland banned fracking and Denver will require large new buildings to go green, but California is putting everyone to shame with the launch of multiple environmentally-friendly initiatives.
And when Trump pulled the US out of the Paris agreement, people responded in full force:
🙌 More than 1,000 governors, mayors, businesses, and colleges signed an open letter committing to the agreement.
🙌 A group of corporations, colleges, and mayors decided to negotiate their own climate plan directly with the UN.
🙌 Pittsburgh declared they’ll transition to 100% renewable energy.
🙌 Phoenix announced plans to become carbon-neutral by 2050.
🙌 Bloomberg Philanthropies pledged to donate $15 million to cover America’s share of the agreement budget.
Cities divested billions of dollars from banks, including Wells Fargo, to protest their funding of the Dakota Access Pipeline. It’s working: ING sold its stake in the pipeline, and insurance giant Axa will no longer insure US pipelines.
Even huge corporations are beginning to concede that they need to do better, like car companies aiming for zero-emissions or going solely electric, and ExxonMobil shareholders demanded the company report on climate change.
And dedicated groups around the country successfully blocked:
🌱 A wind turbine that could kill bald eagles in Ohio
🌱 An oil transportation project on the Hudson River
🌱 The creation of the largest coal export terminal in North America
🌱 A hotel in the Grand Canyon
🌱 A plan to let Nestle bottle water from a local Oregon spring
🌱 A cancer-causing chemical from being hidden in Monsanto products
11. We also saw improvements on criminal justice
State and local prosecutors have been fighting back against Jeff Sessions’ desire for harsher sentencing policies (because, news flash: that’s a bad idea), and we saw improvements to the criminal justice system in:
A number of states have all or nearly eliminated cash bail, leading to promising results—we’re looking at you next, California. And we saw stories of local and national organizers, thousands of donations, and app developers helping hundreds of incarcerated mothers, fathers, men, and women return home to their families.
After football players began kneeling during the anthem to oppose police brutality against people of color, Trump crassly attacked their rights to silently and peacefully protest. But their protests only increased, and players, coaches, and team owners spoke out or knelt in solidarity with the players. 🏈
New York City became the first city in the country to divest its workers’ pensions from private prisons! (To learn more about why this is so important, check out Enlace’s Prison Divestment Campaign.) #MoreOfThisPlease
Many innocent people were freed thanks to help from family, friends, organizers, and journalists:
👉 Massachusetts dismissed more than 20,000 cases where people had been wrongfully convicted of drug crimes.
👉A Buzzfeed story helped free a Chicago man after spending 23 years behind bars in a likely-wrongful conviction
12. As well as economic justice
Students can look forward to school lunches for once:
👍 New York City is providing free lunch to every single student in public school.
👍 New Mexico outlawed school lunch shaming.
👍 Spelman and Morehouse students secured free meals for food insecure students.
👍 A fund honoring Philando Castile’s work as a cafeteria supervisor raised enough money to erase every St. Paul student’s school lunch debt.
13. And this is why every vote counts
This November looked very different from last year! This year delivered so many historic wins from people of color, transgender candidates, women, and socialists. You can find all of them here, but we can’t help but highlight the newly-elected Andrea Jenkins, Danica Roem, Larry Krasner, and Vernetta Alston; the fact that every member of the Palm Springs, CA City Council identifies as LGBTQ+; and Ashley Bennett’s triumph against a Republican politician who made a sexist joke about the Women’s March. #Winning
Earlier this year, we cheered on these candidates:
🎉 Randall Woodfin won the Birmingham, Alabama mayoral race.
And there were other big wins in special elections, including some seats that have never been held by a Democrat before:
A Hawaii state rep left the Republican party to join the Democrats, and a Republican judge resigned to protest his own party’s behavior—and so the governor could appoint a Democrat to replace him. We also can’t forget the elation we felt when these senators persisted and reclaimed their time.
We have our eyes on the 2018 midterms:
- Scientists and Muslim-Americans are signing up to run.
- 16,000 women told Emily’s List they want to run for office (compared to 920 total in the past two years).
- 369 women are running for Congress, more than ever before.
- A bunch of GOP reps, including Jason Chaffetz, aren’t running for reelection in 2018.
104 women currently serve in Congress, the largest amount in our history, but we’re hoping 2018 will blow that number out of the water.
And while we’re talking about all the election wins, we have to talk about the important work being done to protect voting rights.
We loved seeing 80,000 people march in Raleigh, NC for voting rights, and were thrilled to learn that College Park, Maryland granted undocumented immigrants and other non-citizens voting rights in local elections.
And nearly every state came out against the Trump administration’s election commission, which eventually suspended their voter data request. But that’s not all—the commission is being investigated while facing seven federal lawsuits (they already lost one), and now one of their members is suing them as well.
14. In entertainment, it was the year of Superwomen & #OscarsNotSoWhite
From box office successes:
⭐ I Am Not Your Negro became the highest-grossing theatrical release in its distributor’s history.
To a lot of firsts:
⭐ Girls Trip became the first film to be written, directed, and produced by, and starring, people of color to cross the $100 million mark.
⭐ Get Out director Jordan Peele became the first black writer-director to have a feature debut earn more than $100 million.
⭐ Viola Davis became the first black woman to win an Emmy, Tony, and Oscar for acting.
⭐ Mahershala Ali became the first Muslim man to win an Oscar.
⭐ Riz Ahmed became the first South Asian—and first Muslim—man to win an acting Emmy.
⭐ Lena Waithe became the first black woman to win an Emmy for comedy writing.
⭐ Michael Che became the first black head writer at SNL.
And instead of awards parties, we saw money going to Planned Parenthood and a legal fund to assist victims of workplace harassment. The entertainment industry took it a step further by setting up an anti-sexual harassment commission, and talent agencies pledged to achieve 50-50 gender parity by 2020. And New York passed legislation to increase the number of women and people of color in writer and director roles.
15. We even saw a lot of goodness around the globe
The Netherlands, Belgium, and Norway stepped up to launch an international fund to finance access to birth control and abortion in developing countries, after the Trump administration reinstated the global gag rule.
Early this year, Iceland introduced legislation requiring employers to prove they are paying men and women equally, which will bridge the pay gap within five years. And just a few weeks ago they elected a Democratic Socialist, environmentalist, and feminist as their new Prime Minister.
Scotland became the first country to provide free sanitary products to low-income women.
Austria, Australia, Germany, Malta, Taiwan, and Bermuda officially said yes to marriage equality; Germany will annul convictions of men jailed for being gay and pay restitution to those still alive; and organizers in Beirut hosted Lebanon’s first-ever gay pride event.
India’s Supreme Court made strides by ruling that sex with a girl under 18 is considered rape, regardless of whether she is married or not, and that freedom of sexual orientation is a fundamental right. Also, an Indian city’s train system began hiring transgender workers for the first time—this came only a few months after a transgender activist opened a school for trans students.
The International community stepped up to combat climate change:
👏 South Korea’s president promised to end their use of nuclear power.
👏 Syria joined the Paris Climate Agreement, right behind Nicaragua.
The Labour Party in the UK made enormous gains, galvanized young voters, and changed the political landscape for the better thanks to party leader Jeremy Corbyn’s inspiring vision for a better Britain.
The Netherland’s rejected Islamophobia and xenophobia by defeating far-right politician Geert Wilders, and France also rejected xenophobia, anti-Semitism, and Islamophobia by electing Emmanuel Macron—and went a step further by protesting against his neoliberal policies the very next day.
Chile turned 11 million acres of donated land into protected national parks, passed a landmark abortion bill, and convicted more than 100 former intelligence agents in dictator Augusto Pinochet’s regime of human rights abuses.
More than 30,000 Israeli and Palestinian women marched for peace to demand an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.TransCanada (who owns the proposed Keystone XL pipeline) canceled plans for a pipeline that would have crossed 50 First Nations territories, Toronto’s school board overwhelmingly voted to remove police from public schools, and Ontario launched a universal basic income pilot—something Martin Luther King Jr. called for 50 years ago.
16. And last but most definitely not least…
Little by little, we’re making inroads on gun safety: Colorado defeated three gun rights bills, Massachusetts banned bump stocks, Rhode Island stopped domestic abusers from owning guns, the mayor of Tallahassee took on the NRA (and won!), and the Supreme Court turned down hearings challenging gun safety legislation.
After 16 years, a House Committee unexpectedly passed Rep. Barbara Lee’s amendment to repeal the Authorization for Use of Military Force.
An ACLU lawsuit led to the first-ever settlement of a case against the CIA over their use of torture.
Our animal friends have reason to celebrate:
🐾 Sea turtle populations are bouncing back, thanks to work begun in the 1950s.
🐾 California banned the sale of dogs, cats, and rabbits from puppy mills.
🐾 Denver banned the painful practice of declawing cats.
🐾 New York will no longer allow elephant performances in entertainment, including circuses and parades.
And in one of the most beautiful victories of the year, 80 people formed a human chain and rescued a drowning family.
As we wrap up 2017, we thought we’d share our top 5 life-savers that helped get us through the year. 🙌
- Comedy podcasts like Comedy Bang! Bang! and How Did This Get Made? have 100% saved my sanity.
- In a year when most things felt depleting, art was nourishing—especially Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders.
- The Headspace meditation app helped me find ten minutes of calm amidst the chaos each day.
- My closest friends and family have gotten me through this nightmare of a year, especially my husband, my mom, my aunt, and my Small Victories co-conspirator, Alison.
- I’m fueled by memory of my grandma, Erna Trocola—a Holocaust survivor who would’ve been marching in the streets against Trump if she was still alive. ✊
- This video from our first issue, and these two dance parties from my two homes states—New York and North Carolina. #Proud
- Women comedians. On Twitter, on Netflix. Anywhere and everywhere I can find them.
- Meditation, thanks to my big sis.
- A night in with my favorite person using tips and tricks from this amazing cookbook while devouring every season of this absolutely delightful show.
- Going offline to spend some self care time with these guys or this guy.