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By Hannah Finnie
December 23, 2015
Credit : Flickr user Dafne Cholet.

From the Supreme Court’s historic ruling legalizing marriage equality to protesters taking to the streets for #BlackLivesMatter, 2015 has been an incredible year for progressive change. And every step of the way, Generation Progress’ Voices Network has been there, covering each issue with an eye towards how young people will be impacted. Now, to mark 10 years of making progress at Generation Progress, a look back at 10 of this year’s top stories:

1. Beyond Borders: My Name Is Valentina Emilia Garcia Gonzalez

“Throughout my childhood in the United States, I never saw myself as undocumented. I got used to being scared at the sight of police. I got used to only going out during the middle of the month, when the police weren’t around so much. I got used to not being able to do many things that residents and citizens have the advantage of doing. That’s just how it was.”

2. One Year After Mike Brown’s Death, Family Members Of Victims Of Police Brutality Speak Out

“What is the key to changing the status quo? After Brown’s death, the quick fix was to pilot body camera programs to increase accountability. Because of this new policy, there was video recording of a University of Cincinnati officer killing an unarmed man, Sam DuBose, at a traffic stop. The evidence was irrefutable and the officer was indicted. Case closed. But DuBose still died. For whatever reason, the rolling camera didn’t change the officer’s mind. The technology provided the judicial process with evidence, which is absolutely crucial. But more than technology, what we really need is a dramatic change in how we view police officers and their role in society and how police officers view themselves.”

3. Prep Schools As Precursors: Why We Need To Start Looking At Our Culture Of Sexual Assault Before College

“While many associate campus sexual assault with colleges and universities, the trial of Owen Labrie suggests that the components of our culture that lead to campus sexual assault start earlier. Sexual assault occurs at the high school level, too, and similarly deals with questions of privilege, entitlement, and masculinity, though it’s not as often talked about.”

4. The Future Of Planned Parenthood, Affordable Reproductive Health Care, And The U.S. Government

“The education and other services provided to young people by Planned Parenthood come at a time when Millennials are more likely to be having children. At the same time, however, they are also more likely to be facing economic hardships, thus requiring access to affordable reproductive health care and other services offered by Planned Parenthood.”

5. Supreme Court Briefing: A Guide To The Term’s Blockbuster Cases, And What They Mean For Millennials

“From fundamental questions concerning representation and democracy to answering challenges to accessible and affordable health care, the Supreme Court has a full docket of potential landmark cases this year touching on criminal justice, the economy, health care, immigration, and voting rights. Here, we lay out some of the biggest cases, and questions, facing the court this year, with an eye toward how young people stand to be helped–or hurt–by the court’s decisions.”

6. New Beginnings: Iranian and American Millennial Perspectives On The Iran Deal

“Given the historic nature of the deal, and its potential to alter the course of history for young people, Generation Progress spoke to Millennials on the ground in Iran and the United States to see what the deal means to them and their futures…While the responses revealed some differing perspectives between young Iranians and Americans, support of the deal defied nationality.”

7. Mass Shooting, Massive Firearm Sales

“In the United States, the collective response to shootings that garner national attention is so predictable it feels rehearsed. Politicians offer their thoughts and prayers, their word choices influenced by their political views; prevention advocates close their eyes and shake their heads before opening their eyes again to begin rallying troops; and some interpret their fear as an intrinsic need for protection and go out to buy a gun before, they fear, restrictions tighten.”

8. Incarcerating The Marginalized Accused: Why The Fight For Bail Reform Matters To The LGBTQ Movement

“The lesson, then, for LGBTQ people, or perhaps all people, is that bail reform, while a necessary and urgent organizing priority, is but the beginning of a collective re-imagination of what justice looks and feels like for those disproportionately incarcerated under the existing bail system.”

9. My Name Is Dulce Valencia, I’m 19 Years Old, And I’m A DREAMer.

“I was born in a sleepy coastal town in the state of Guerrero, Mexico but my parents were from a tiny town called Anton Simon. In Anton Simon there wasn’t a lot of opportunity and most people lived in poverty. It was this poverty and lack of opportunity that drove my mother and father to migrate to the United States when I was one year old. They wanted me to have a chance to succeed.”

10. Disabled And Denied: The Fight For Voting Rights For People With Disabilities

“Voting is often viewed as one of the most tangible—and most important—exercises of human rights. Yet for the 33.7 million Americans with disabilities who are of voting age, this hallmark human right is far too often made extremely difficult or denied.”


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