With the year coming to a close, I thought that today I'd take a look back on 2016 and reflect on both the good and the bad. For me personally, 2016 has been a wonderful year. I feel like I really hit my stride at university; I love living independently, studying what interests me and learning how to manage by myself in the wider world. I also took part in two national demonstrations (one against Trident and one against austerity), spent my first full year as a vegetarian (as opposed to the eight years I spent as a pescetarian - someone who eats fish but not meat) and celebrated me and my boyfriend's first year anniversary.
However, in many parts of the wider world, 2016 has not been a good year. Britain chose to leave the European Union, Donald Trump was elected President of the United States, there have been dozens of terrorist attacks all over the world, mass shootings and a 41% increase in hate crime throughout Britain following the Brexit vote. It's at times like these when we should be standing together, supporting each other, not demonstrating divide and hate.
2016 has also become known as the year of celebrity deaths and this, too, is devastating. So much talent has been lost this year, so many inspirational people. But whilst you spare a thought for those whose passing is big enough to make the headlines, please remember all the people whose deaths have gone unnoticed by the media, but who are just as important and just as worthy of mourning and remembering.
I watched Pride earlier on this evening, which in part was what motivated me to sit down and get this blog post written. A funny, moving and completely inspirational account of how the LGBT community came together in a show of solidarity with striking miners, it has really reinvigorated my love of activism, socialism and the fight for peace. I don't identify as LGBT, but I do identify as a socialist and a feminist - and when you stop to think about it, they're all interlinked. The fight for peace and equality is something we should all be invested in, no matter who you are or where you come from. That is why in 2017, I want to get more involved than ever in trying to make our world a better place. In March, I'll be attending the 'It's our NHS: National Demonstration', and I really do hope that you will consider coming along too. I also want learn as much as I can about the feminist movement, so am aiming to join the feminist book club Our Shared Shelf, which was founded this year by Emma Watson.
I know I'm just one small person in a sea of voices and I know that at 21 years old, I'm still young and inexperienced. But I don't want my life to be harmful in any way - I want to reduce my impact on the planet, I want to care for animals rather than contributing to their deaths through the meat industry, and I want to help people who need it. I want to use my life to fight for equality and peace, and I want to help inspire others to do the same. If we all work towards the same goal, we stand a far greater chance of achieving it than if we work alone.
I will aim to be back at some point before the New Year to share my sewing achievements of 2016 and my plans for next year!
Thank you so much for reading, I hope you have all had a wonderful Christmas and have a lovely week,