With the start of the new decade we have quite a few worries top of mind. It seems that we, the human race, just can’t get it right. At least, this is the way it appears. Truly though, we have made a few steps toward bettering our world. Albeit slowly. Often begrudgingly. From strides in human dignity to a home for every dog, our world experienced pockets of good in 2019.
For instance, MARIYA RUSSELL BECAME THE FIRST AFRICAN-AMERICAN WOMAN TO RECEIVE A MICHELIN STAR! Michelin stars are a restaurant rating system found within the well-known and somewhat fancy Michelin Guide. For more than a century, the guide has shaped the success of chefs and restaurants across the world. Earn a Michelin star, you are a star. MARIYA RUSSELL is the first African-American star in ninety-two years.
HOLLAND BECAME THE FIRST COUNTRY WITH NO STRAY DOGS! It wasn’t easy and took total, bipartisan agreement but they got it done. They were able to spay and neuter more than 75% of their stray dog population in a matter of months.
Strays were given veterinary checkups and vaccines, helping stop the spread of communicable diseases like rabies or parvovirus. The country also implemented animal welfare legislation that granted all animals, including stray dogs, the right to a healthy and quality life. Campaigns worked to drive home the idea that adopting a pet is saving a life.
Here in the states…ANIMAL CRUELTY BECAME A FEDERAL FELONY!
A bipartisan bill, the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act, was signed into law this past November, making animal cruelty a federal crime.
Our 116th Congress had the biggest number of female members ever. Close to home, THE GREATEST NUMBER OF WOMEN WERE VOTED INTO THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY IN THE HISTORY OF VIRGINIA POLITICS. Delegate Eileen Filler-Corn became the first woman nominated for Speaker of the House in Virginia.
A Malawi female Chief named Theresa Kachindamoto, whose lineage made her suddenly and unexpectedly senior chief to more than 900,000 people, made her opportunity and quickly ANNULLED 850 CHILD MARRIAGES, a practice she had publicly denounced for years. The custom was then made illegal and the girls she rescued sent to school.
The World Health Organization, WHO, will be making LIFE SAVING BREAST CANCER TREATMENT ACCESSIBLE TO WOMEN IN POOR AND FRAGILE COUNTRIES. Over 2 million women contracted breast cancer in 2018, with 630,000 dying because of late diagnosis or lack of access to affordable treatment. WHO has recently cleared the drug Trastuzumab, a highly reliable but expensive cancer treatment, for procurement by national health authorities, meaning more women will have, relatively, easier access to the drug.
There have been positive strides for our LGBTQ citizens with MANY STATES BEGINNING TO BAN CONVERSION THERAPY! Conversion therapy claims to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. States prohibiting the dangerous and debunked practice this year include Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, and Utah. Puerto Rico also banned the practice.
Of course, there is more to do. So much work ahead. Let’s hope we usher more positive changes into this new decade.