2018 has been rough. With President Donald Trump continuously trying to hurt marginalized communities, mass shootings not bringing about gun control reform, and Latinos displaying their xenophobia against other Latinos, it’s easy to feel despair. But on Thanksgiving, a day often associated with reflection (though it also have some very dark beginnings), we’re supposed to look back at what we’re thankful for.
We won’t lie: It’s particularly difficult this year. There’s a lot of darkness in our world, but some cool stuff has happened in 2018. This Thanksgiving, here are 22 things we’re grateful for.
More women will serve in Congress.
The 2018 midterm elections may not have turned out exactly as some of us hoped, but at least, we got a record number of women serving in Congress. The 116th Congress will have at least 121 women, which is up from the 107 that now serve. It’ll also be a more diverse Congress.
DACA is still alive.
Trump tried to put an end to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, but it’s still alive. Recently, a federal appeals court upheld a ruling that blocked the ending of the program.
Trump's asylum ban thwarted.
This week a federal judge temporarily blocked the Trump Administration’s attempt to deny asylum to immigrants who arrived at the southern border. “Whatever the scope of the President’s authority, he may not rewrite the immigration laws to impose a condition that Congress has expressly forbidden,” the judge wrote.
Brazil elected its first Indigenous Congresswoman.
Joênia Wapichana became the first Indigenous woman to hold a seat in Brazil’s Congress in 194 years. She vows to fight for her communities. “We need representativeness in politics; the Indigenous rights are in grave danger in Brazil. Also, we need more women in politics,” she said.
Miles Morales got his own movie.
For ages, we’ve had Peter Parker as our default Spider-Man. But this year, Miles Morales – who is Afro-Latino, will get his own movie.
Latinx got added to the dictionary.
“Latinx” is a highly contentious word among our community, and while we don’t need Merriam-Webster to validate the words we use, it is significant that the dictionary acknowledged the word. It means more people are recognizing that Latinos doesn’t embody everyone.
Gina Rodriguez used her Emmy Award campaign money on a good cause.
Instead of using her Emmy Award campaign money to promote herself, Gina Rodriguez asked The CW to use the money on a scholarship for an undocumented student.
Cardi B made history.
This year, the Bronx-born rapper became the first female rapper to have three singles on the No. 1 spot, making her also the first person of Dominican descent to reach this mark.
Alfonso Cuarón returned to Mexico with 'Roma.'
Alfonso Cuarón has not had a Mexico-set movie in 17 years, since the release of Y Tu Mamá También. Roma is inspired by his memories of growing up in Mexico City in the ’60s and ’70s.
Uruguay passed a progressive trans rights bill.
The Uruguayan congress recently passed a groundbreaking law giving the transgender community increased protections. The law, known as the Ley Integral de Persona Trans, includes making gender affirming surgery and hormone therapy a right that the government will pay for. Additionally, the country will reserve 1 percent of government jobs for this community.
"I Like It" became No. 1 song in the country.
After a few weeks of flirting with the top spot, the Cardi B, J Balvin, and Bad Bunny collab hit the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100.
Columbus state removed in Los Angeles.
Christopher Columbus is celebrated across the United States, despite the fact that he should be remembered as a violent instigator of genocide. In early November, Los Angeles removed a statue honoring Columbus, and a group of Indigenous and Latino activists made it possible.
Thalia inadvertently gave us "Me Escuchan, Me Oyen" challenge.
One day while uploading a series of Instagram stories, Thalia gave us a fun new challenge. In the story, she greeted her followers, singing, “¿Me escuchan? ¿Me oyen?” all while wearing a pink fringed jumpsuit by London designer House of CB. And people quickly imitated the moment.
Paulina de la Mora's accent on 'La Casa de las Flores.'
It was magical, and it inspired an amazing meme.
Óscar Romero was canonized as a saint.
Óscar Romero, an archbishop from El Salvador who was murdered for his opposition to the right-wing government, was canonized this year. And it was a very big deal to people from the Central American country.
Rita Moreno re-wore her 1962 Oscar dress.
In 2018, Rita Moreno wore the flowery dress that she donned when she won her own Oscar. It was slightly different, but still iconic.
Marco Morante held NYFW's first show with all-trans models.
New York Fashion Week witnessed its first show featuring only transgender models. Masterminded by Marco Morante, the Dominirican designer behind Marco Marco – an LA-based clothing brand – the show made history and helped to bring some diversity to an industry that still upholds a narrow view of beauty.
The Whitney dedicated a group show to Latinx artists.
Pacha, Llaqta, Wasichay: Indigenous Space, Modern Architecture, New Art featured six emerging Latinx visual artists that explore Indigenous cultures in terms of space, place, and architecture. Before this exhibition, the Whitney had never dedicated a group show to Latinx artists.
Trans Puerto Ricans are now able to change gender markers on birth certificates.
In Arroyo v. Rosselló, the US District Court for Puerto Rico overruled the island’s ban on changing gender markers. In the opinion, Judge Carmen Consuelo Cerezo wrote, “The right to identify our own existence lies at the heart of one’s humanity. And so, we must heed their voices: ‘the woman that I am,’ ‘the man that I am.’”
Cheech launched his own pot brand.
If you’ve ever found yourself wanting to smoke Cheech-approved weed, then you’re in luck.
We learned how to say things the gringo way.
Kenya taught us the different ways Latinos and gringos say certain Spanish words.
We stood up to racists over and over again.
We came together and shut down racists over and over again. See: Aaron Schlossburg, for example.