Best Power to the People Moments of 2014

2014 was an incredibly powerful year, with social awakenings spreading globally; inspiring justice and freedom. While it’s a difficult task to narrow down the most important moments that gave power to the people, we present the five most impacting social movements of the year, hoping that 2015 sees even more progress, unity, equality, and justice!

Tim Cook and Ellen Page Proudly Speak Up

It seems insane that the battle for gay rights is still an ongoing debacle but unfortunately we live in a world where a 55-hour-long union is more fitting to the sanctity of marriage than a same sex couple exchanging vows (rolls eyes). While every year there are a lot of notable things happening in the LGBT community this year it was fantastic to have two influential individuals make public affirmations of their sexuality, inspiring more people to be comfortable with their preferences. Early in the year Ellen Page attended the Human Right’s Campaign conference ‘Time to Thrive’ where she took the stage and delivered a personal and powerful message: “I am tired of hiding and I am tired of lying by omission,” going on to criticize the presupposed standards of beauty and how these affect the way we live and act.

Later this year, in October, Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, wrote an article for Bloomberg Businessweek during which he made his sexuality public by saying, “let me be clear: I’m proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me. Being gay has given me a deeper understanding of what it means to be in the minority and provided a window into the challenges that people in other minority groups deal with every day. It’s made me more empathetic, which has led to a richer life.” The importance of Cook coming out is best explained by Chris Rock in his interview for New York Magazine: “Tim Cook is around these corporate guys. That is the epitome of a boys’ club. That is sexist, ¬racist — the least inclusive group of people you’re ever going to find. [And he] came out to those guys.”

Not only is an incredibly successful actress openly gay, but the guy in charge of the most powerful tech company in the world has also come out of the closet. How’s that for shutting down the homophobes? Bye Felicia.

Massive Global Protests

While it’s incredibly sad to see people come together because of inequality and oppression it’s even sadder to not see people defending their beliefs, and this year, amidst so many screwed up issues that plagued the world, we saw the rise of protests worldwide. From the anti-Russian protests in Ukraine, to the umbrella protests in [Hong Kong]( against the Chinese government, Mexico taking a stand against the governmental corruption in lieu of the disappearance of 43 students, and of course the nation-wide protests demanding justice for the murders of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and countless more black men who have been targets of police brutality, the spectrum of socio-political unrest had one thing in common: the pursuit of justice and freedom from governmental oppression.

Malala Wins Nobel Peace Prize

Continuing to make history, Malala Yousafzai became the first Pakistani winner of the Nobel Peace Prize and the youngest one at that. This is the crowning achievement in a year of success – her pursuit for educational equality and her bravery towards oppression have earned her two notable positions in Time Magazine: as one of the 25 most influential teens and as one of the 100 most influential people in the world.

The Feminist Take Over

This year the feminist movement took a new public force, as advocates of the movement went public with their support for gender equality, ranging from everyone from Emma Watson, Mindy Kaling, Beyoncé, Aziz Ansari, and Emma Sulkowicz. However, there were some outstanding moments that stuck out from the impressive catalogue of powerful feminist moments. First, the Lammily Doll hit the market, changing the perceptions of beauty that ole Barbie has traumatized young girls for decades. Lammily not only boasts realistic proportions but also comes with stickers for stretch marks, cellulite, acne, beauty marks that you can put on her…so basically a doll that accurately represents a living breathing female.

The wave continued with a surprising move by Facebook (the epic internet prude) which now allows pictures of women breastfeeding to be posted on the social media website. We don’t even want to get into why this wasn’t allowed in the first place, all we have to say is small victories are also significant and there’s nothing that should be shamefully hidden about a woman breastfeeding her child, I mean come on!

In May of this year 22 year old Elliot Rodger went on a shooting spree in Isla Vista, CA, murdering six and injuring thirteen more. The reason behind this was explained in horrendously frightful documentation of his psyche, from Youtube videos to an autobiography (which we will, for obvious reasons, refuse to share with you), during which he goes on heavily sexist rants against women. The silver lining behind this was the viral hashtag campaign #YesAllWomen, which gave a platform for women to share harsh truths like: “’I have a boyfriend’ is the easiest way to get a man to leave you alone. Because he respects another man more than you.” Or, “Because apparently the clothes I wear is a more valid form of consent than the words I say.”

Finally Laverne Cox crushed down all the barriers and gave an incredibly huge and necessary voice to the transgender community. She is not only one of the best characters/actresses on Orange Is The New Black, (proven by the fact that she is the first transgender actress to receive an Emmy nomination!) but she has dedicated the year to raising awareness over the transgender rights movement, inspiring thousands, even Time Magazine, who made her the star of the May cover story. Slay. Not to mention she gave an incredibly powerful lesson about semantics and ethics to Katie Couric who probably buried her head under the covers for weeks from the embarrassment she felt.

The People’s Climate March

For years environmental awareness has been growing (due primarily by the fearful effects we are seeing happen around the world) but a culminating and pivotal moment took place this September, when nearly half a million people participated in the People’s Climate March in New York City. Yes, we said half a million people, making it the largest climate march in history. The march was flocked with powerful signs, from anti-capitalistic sentiments, to opposition of child labor, anti-fracking banners, and every other environmentally impacting issue at hand. Some of the notable attendees were Al Gore, Mark Ruffalo, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Edward Norton – giving a clear statement that this is an issue everyone, rich, poor, young, old, needs to be concerned about. History was literally made!

Homeslide photo by Andy Katz

Stay tuned as we narrow down more ‘Best Of’ moments of 2014

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