2017 was quite a year. From the inauguration of President Donald Trump and the subsequent protests that engulfed the nation, to the disasters both natural and man-made that devastated communities, it’s been a lot.
But in the wake of each of these national reckonings ― including Hurricane Maria slamming into Puerto Rico, the deadliest mass shooting in recent U.S. history, and individuals courageously denouncing sexual harassment and assault ― people came together to support each other.
Here are some of the seminal moments of 2017 that we’ll remember not only for their horrific or polarizing nature, but because of the power of Americans’ response.
1. Trump was inaugurated, and millions took to the streets.
The rallies featured speakers like feminist icon Gloria Steinem and singer Janelle Monáe, and called for gender equality just 24 hours after Trump, accused by more than a dozen women of sexual harassment or assault, took office.
2. Protesters poured into airports to denounce the Muslim ban.
Thousands of demonstrators flocked to airports across the nation for days in late January to denounce Trump’s executive order imposing limits on immigration and travel from several predominantly Muslim countries.
The spontaneous airport protests from New York to Dallas to San Diego then continued for a second weekend, with people marching in city streets across the United States, chanting “No ban, no wall!”
3. People banded together for Puerto Ricans hit by Hurricane Maria.
After Hurricane Maria slammed into Puerto Rico in late September, most people were left without power or access to clean drinking water. Weeks later, many of them were still waiting for help from the government, and the dead are still being counted ― with estimates climbing to over 1,000 fatalities.
In the wake of the storm, people nationwide ― including celebrities with ties to the island, like Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jennifer Lopez ― helped raise funds to help the U.S. territory, while volunteers and officials on the ground worked to deliver much-needed food and medical services to the most vulnerable.
4. Sports teams took a knee to call out systemic racism.
A protest started last year by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick ― who kneeled during the national anthem to call out systemic racism ― morphed into a much larger movement in September, after Trump said teams should deal with protesting players by getting “that son of a bitch off the field right now.”
In response, scores of athletes from multiple teams ― and even celebrities beyond the sports field ― responded by taking a knee in solidarity. Despite criticism from team owners and members of the Trump administration, players continued to kneel to raise awareness of social injustice.
5. Americans showed support for victims of the Las Vegas shooting.
In October, the nation mourned after a gunman shot into a crowd of concertgoers in Las Vegas, killing more than 50 people and injuring hundreds of others in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
People across the country quickly stepped up to help the victims and their families, with those nearby lining up for hours to donate blood, and those further away raising millions and contacting their representatives to call for gun control.
6. Communities stepped up after California’s deadliest wildfires.
In October, the country watched in horror as several fast-moving fires ripped through Sonoma, Napa and other counties in Northern California’s wine country, forcing around 100,000 people to evacuate and killing more than 40 people. They were the deadliest blazes in California’s history.
In the wake of the fires, local food trucks rushed to serve emergency responders and homeless or displaced residents. Americans raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to support those who lost everything.
7. People mourned with a Texas church hit by gun violence.
In November, a gunman walked into Sunday services at a Baptist church in the small town of Sutherland Springs, Texas, and killed 26 people ― half of whom were children ― in the worst mass killing in the state’s history. One family alone lost eight of its members spanning three generations.
In the wake of the tragedy, people nationwide donated funds, but many, including former President Barack Obama, called for government leaders to do more than just send prayers, urging them to actually take legislative action on gun control.
8. Sexual assault survivors courageously said #MeToo.
In the wake of sexual assault allegations against powerful Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, scores of people have joined the #MeToo movement, calling out sexual harassment and abuse in the workplace. It’s worth noting that organizer Tarana Burke started the “Me Too” campaign for sexual assault survivors 10 years ago.