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Google’s recap proves 2015 was tough but filled with progress.

Our Internet searches say a lot about what happened this year.

Google’s recap proves 2015 was tough but filled with progress.

Fact: 2015 was kind of an amazing year.

I know, I know, a lot of terrible things went down. That's also a fact.

It's easy to want to crawl into a hole after thinking back through the past 12 months:


And as the year ends, yes, many of us are asking each other, "How did our world become such a mess? But don't let that question fool you into thinking everything is terrible.

Because even though 2015 was rough, it really was also ... sort of amazing.

No, seriously.

More diseases were eradicated. Global poverty continued to fall. In the U.S. — where millions more Americans gained access to health care — it was confirmed that marriage equality is a constitutional right.

Folks celebrating the Supreme Court's ruling on gay marriage in New York City. Photo by Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images.

#BlackLivesMatter brought the fight against racial injustice and police brutality mainstream. The world rallied together to slash carbon emissions and combat climate change. We have more trees in America now than we've had in the past 100 years. And we finally figured out the color of that damn dress.

Still not convinced 2015 actually rocked? Look no further than Google's annual "Year in Search" video.

The tech giant — which just released its list of the year's top searches — recapped 2015 by taking a look at what people were most curious about in its annual "Year In Search" video.

Yes, the list certainly reflects our obsession with scandal and celebrity culture — Amy Schumer, Charlie Sheen, and Kylie Jenner all make appearances — but it also highlights our desire for social progress.

"In 2015, the questions we asked revealed who we are," Google notes. Questions, like these:

How can one person do their part to help Syrian refugees?

Here are a few ways how.

Why can't women be Army rangers?

By the way, now they can.

How can we trounce out racism?

We can start by acknowledging white privilege.

How can we rebuild a country devastated by an earthquake?

You can start by supporting organizations that are helping to fix the heartache.

How can we find world peace?

...Now that's the million-dollar question.

It's understandable to feel down thinking about all the awful things happening around us. But you shouldn't.

The world can be a scary place. But don't let the 24/7, "if it bleeds, it leads" news cycle beat you down.

There's more good out there than there is bad. 2015 is proof.

Check out Google's Year In Search 2015 below:

President Biden/Twitter, Yamiche Alcindor/Twitter

In a year when the U.S. saw the largest protest movement in history in support of Black lives, when people of color have experienced disproportionate outcomes from the coronavirus pandemic, and when Black voters showed up in droves to flip two Senate seats in Georgia, Joe Biden entered the White House with a mandate to address the issue of racial equity in a meaningful way.

Not that it took any of those things to make racial issues in America real. White supremacy has undergirded laws, policies, and practices throughout our nation's history, and the ongoing impacts of that history are seen and felt widely by various racial and ethnic groups in America in various ways.

Today, President Biden spoke to these issues in straightforward language before signing four executive actions that aim to:

- promote fair housing policies to redress historical racial discrimination in federal housing and lending

- address criminal justice, starting by ending federal contracts with for-profit prisons

- strengthen nation-to-nation relationships with Native American tribes and Alaskan natives

- combat xenophobia against Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders, which has skyrocketed during the pandemic

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True

If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.

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via WFTV

Server Flavaine Carvalho was waiting on her last table of the night at Mrs. Potatohead's, a family restaurant in Orlando, Florida when she noticed something peculiar.

The parents of an 11-year-old boy were ordering food but told her that the child would be having his dinner later that night at home. She glanced at the boy who was wearing a hoodie, glasses, and a face mask and noticed a scratch between his eyes.

A closer look revealed a bruise on his temple.

So Carvalho walked away from the table and wrote a note that said, "Do you need help?" and showed it to the boy from an angle where his parents couldn't see.

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via TikTok

Menstrual taboos are as old as time and found across cultures. They've been used to separate women from men physically — menstrual huts are still a thing — and socially, by creating the perception that a natural bodily function is a sign of weakness.

Even in today's world women are deemed unfit for positions of power because some men actually believe they won't be able to handle stressful situations while mensurating.

"Menstruation is an opening for attack: a mark of shame, a sign of weakness, an argument to keep women out of positions of power,' Colin Schultz writes in Popular Science.

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