The year 2016 was seen by many people as a disaster of a year. However, it had its shining moments and the following five women (in my opinion)  really showed what its means to be strong and independent when it matters most.

1) Beyonce


Known as “Queen B” by her millions of followers, Beyonce is quite familiar with being an inspiration to many people around the world. However, with the release of her album, Lemonade on April 23, 2016, Beyonce showed a whole new side of herself. This album captures and illustrates what it means to be black in modern America. Drawing from her southern and African roots, along with the Black Lives Matter movement, Beyonce was “unapologetically black”, sharing the struggles of African-Americans through her music.

2) Hillary Clinton


Despite the fact that I was a Bernie Sanders supporter, it would have been blind for me to not see that Hillary Clinton made history in 2016. Having been a Senator, Secretary of State, and first women, Clinton was very well known in the political community. It was much to nobody’s surprise that she announced her campaign for the presidency on April 12, 2015. However, unlike in 2008, on  July 26, 2016, Clinton made history by becoming the presidential nominee of a major political party, winning by 15 points to Bernie Sanders. Even though, she didn’t win Clinton showed to many of those around the world that a woman can do anything that a man can’t and that you shouldn’t let your failures in the past define or restrict you.

3) Candi Brings Plenti


Among the many brave souls fighting the North Dakota Access Pipeline was Candi Brings Plenti. She is an inspiring woman who helped bring to life and maintain the Two Spirit Camp. Not only is she a member of the Oglala Lakota Sioux tribe, Plenti is also the executive director of the Equi Institute, which is an LGBTQ health community clinic. With the many programs that she participates in, Plenti works to create a safe space for Two Spirit and LGBTQ indigenous people. For all of her hard work and service to the community, Plenti received “The Spirit of Portland: Community Leadership of the Year” in December.

4) Constance Wu


Many of us are familiar with the racial issues plaguing Hollywood, with the whitewashing of role originally meant to be played by people of color. One advocate fighting for change is Constance Wu. Not only is she a star of the hit tv show “Fresh off the Boat”, Wu is also making headlines for speaking out against Hollywood. Throughout 2016, Wu spoke about the whitewashing of Asian and Asian-American characters and performers. An example is how Scarlett Johansson is playing the main Asian character in the live-action adaptation of  “Ghost in the Shell”. Wu showed that she wasn’t afraid to make race the central issue, despite the possible repercussions to her career.

5) Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha 


Last but not least is Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha. Know by her name by many people, Dr. Hanna-Attisha was the pediatrician that sounded the alarm to the impacts of lead poisoning on the children of Flint, Michigan. By raising her voice, the doctor was able to make bring national attention to the Flint water crisis. Despite uncovering the water issue in late 2015, the following year found Hanna-Attisha at legislative hearings, in the media, and her daily life fighting to spread awareness and advocating for the children of Flint. Due to her tireless work, she later became named as one of Time’s most influential people of the year.




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