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January 17
1994, 4:31 a.m. - Magnitude 6.7 Northridge earthquake rocks Santa Clarita Valley [video]
collapsed freeway bridge

The Good Long Road | Commentary by Jennifer Fischer
| Saturday, Jan 3, 2015

JenniferFischerThis time of year is often a time for reflection. I decided last week to write my own A-Z list for 2014, highlighting the past year’s news that stuck out for me.

I drew inspiration from some great A-Z lists I’ve read lately, most notably “The A to Z of Women in Film 2014” in Indiewire’s Women and Hollywood blog. So I went with the A-Z format, as well. I thought I would wrap it up in two parts, but a lot happened this past year, so I think I’m going to make this a three-part series.

Here’s Part 2 of 3:

L is for Little League World Series: Mo’ne Davis made this year’s Little League World Series one to remember through her impeccable performance, pitching a shutout. She showed the world that gender discrimination and commonly held stereotypes that assert that girls are somehow not as good as boys must be reconsidered. This year’s Little League World Series featured two girls playing among the boys, and Mo’ne became the first American girl ever to play in the series as well as the first Little League player ever to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated. She was named one of the most influential teens of 2014 by Time magazine and seemed to embrace her opportunity to be a role model, conducting herself with confidence and demonstrating that she’s got smarts as well as a killer fast baseball.

M is for Mexico: When 43 students disappeared in Mexico, the country’s ongoing struggles with drug cartels and government corruption were thrust into the spotlight. The disappearances also sparked protests and outrage throughout Mexico and brought the reality of such disappearances, which had become all too common, out into the open for the rest of the world. After uncertainty about what happened to the students and the government’s involvement and knowledge, it finally came to light in December that the students were massacred by the police and that the government knew about the attack. Voices across Mexico are calling for President Enrique Peña Nieto to resign. Although his resignation is uncertain, what is certain is that Mexico has another challenging year ahead of it.

N is for Net Neutrality: The words “net neutrality” were thrown around a lot this past year, but I wonder how many individuals fully understand what it means or what to do about it. In essence, net neutrality is connected with keeping the Internet “open” so that everyone can access whatever lawful information they would like via the Internet without concerns that their Internet provider might be selectively blocking certain information or sites. Net neutrality involves applying common carriage rules to the internet. “Common carriage prohibits the owner of a network … from discriminating against information by halting, slowing or otherwise tampering with the transfer of any data (except for legitimate network management purposes such as easing congestion or blocking spam)” – quote from the ACLU website. If this is important to you, let the FCC know it can and should immediately move to protect free speech, consumers and network neutrality.

O is for Off the Radar: Missing airplanes became a bit too common in 2014. Although most were located rapidly after being “lost,” the exact whereabouts of the Malaysian Air flight MH370 remains largely a mystery. It disappeared March 8 while en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. It is currently believed the plane ended its journey in the seas east of the Australian city Perth. Evidenced suggests the plane was deliberately diverted by someone on board, but the reality of what took place on March 8 remains a complete mystery.

P is for Protest (or “the People”): In 2014, around the world, we saw uprisings, revolutions, protests and frustration at continued injustice, economic inequality and corrupt governments. Amid all of the tumult, there has also been a promise of growth and positive change. There is a movement for justice and accountability brewing – and it is growing. I believe people will continue to voice their concerns and demand change in the new year, and I believe that there will be growing pains with this process. However, I also believe that ultimately, changes that provide greater equality and understanding can help us create a more fruitful and just world that benefits and embraces us all.

Q is for – hmm.  I’m not sure what “Q” is for. I’m saving that one for next week, so stay tuned.

R is for Recess: Partisanship and bickering have meant this past year was one in which Congress “impressed” many people through its utter inability to get anything done and rounded out its year with one of its lowest approval rates of all time. It has also meant many communities began to look toward their local governments for action, rather than expecting anything from Congress.

S is for Syria: The crisis and turmoil in Syria escalated throughout the year, and it seems the escalation will continue. I’ve watched with sorrow as events have unfolded, especially since I traveled to Syria in 1999 and 2003 and met many wonderful and generous people while there. I am saddened to see the region engulfed in such intense violence and in the gross human rights violations that are taking place. It also saddens me to see how ISIS (ISIL) has reinforced for many people negative stereotypes about Islam and Muslims – stereotypes that I know are not at all valid. The Muslims I know personally are appalled by ISIS and fear the movement’s growth.

T is for Torture Report: What to say about the torture report? It’s hard to say anything, as I think I’m still a little speechless due to the grand scale of the torture and the widespread and excessive use of it. It saddens me to think our nation set a policy into place that completely dehumanized and brutally tortured others, with no results, and that we would set forth a policy so damaging to our own soldiers and intelligence agents ordered to conduct such heinous acts – things that are certainly psychologically and emotionally damaging for them.

I’m leaving U-Z (and Q) for next week, but I hate to wrap up this piece on such a sour note, so I’ll leave you with another thought about the torture report. Perhaps the reality that the torture report was released to the public offers promise for the new year. For our nation to move forward and lead effectively in the world, we must not hide our errors; instead we must stand up and be accountable for our actions and demand more from ourselves.

I am certainly hoping for a new year in which accountability and transparency are recurring themes.

What are you hoping for?


Jennifer Fischer is co-founder of the SCV Film Festival, a mom of two, an independent filmmaker and owner of Think Ten Media Group, whose Generation Arts division offers programs for SCV youth. She writes about her parenting journey on her blog, The Good Long Road. Her commentary is published Saturdays on SCVNews.com.

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1 Comment

  1. joe says:

    An C is for Canadian mining leeches taking so much gold and silver from Mexico. In Guerrero there is a large gold belt where there are mining companies from Canada which you don’t hear about in mainstream american media. Communities do protest against mining but get dragged away by federales so the mining companies can extract.

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