Movements that defined 2015

2015 has been a big year for movement builders and changemakers. This year will undoubtedly go down in history as one of the most important.

As we make resolutions for 2016, it is important that we reflect on the profound movements of 2015. This list is certainly not exhaustive, but it reminds us of the great work that has been done and inspires us for the work ahead. Here are our three favorite movement moments of 2015:


1. #BlackLivesMatter went from a hashtag to the most defining civil rights movement of the 21st century. 


2015 began with the continued unrest following the acquittal of George Zimmerman for the killing of Trayvon Martin in 2013 and the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri by a police officer. Following, #Blacklivesmatter – a grassroots hashtag campaign used to shed light on a history of racism and police brutality in this country – spread through social media. In 2015, the deaths of Sandra Bland, Freddie Gray, Laquan McDonald and the recent ruling in the death of Tamir Rice propelled #Blacklivesmatter from a hashtag to a full-blown movement.

As a result, systemic racism, police brutality and the criminal justice system are in the national conversation and central to the upcoming election, as the #Blacklivesmatter activists have successfully pressured the 2016 presidential candidates to publicly address the issue.

The #Blacklivesmatter has become the leading call for action for racial justice across the United States while demonstrating the power of social media in mobilizing movements and fostering social change.

It has since inspired many other campaigns, including #sayhername – a campaign to amplify the stories of black women who have died at the hands of police, #Muslimlivesmatter – which began trending on social media after the killing of three young Muslims in North Carolina and the growing Islamophobia in the United States and #ifiwasgunneddown – a social media campaign to show how black people are stereotyped in mainstream media coverage of police violence.

Who to watch in 2016:

In August 2015, #Blacklivesmatter activists stepped up their political game with the launch of Campaign Zero. The campaign calls for policy makers at all levels of government to implement 10 detailed policy solutions for ending police violence in America. These solutions include limiting police interventions, improving community interactions and ensuring accountability. The campaign also publicly measures the 2016 presidential candidates against their policy solutions.


2. #Lovewins: In a historic 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court sided with love, ruling bans on marriage equality unconstitutional.


For more than 40 years, the LGBT movement has organized for the right to marry, and in June, with Obergefell v. Hodges, the Supreme Court ruled that marriage equality is the law of land.

Americans celebrated the win on social media with more than 1 million people turning their profile pictures rainbow, and President Obama called the ruling one of his favorite moments of 2015.

While activists and their allies took a moment to celebrate, they quickly got back to work on important movement issues including transgender rights and work and housing discrimination.

Who to watch:

The Human Rights Campaign – the largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for LGBT Americans – has been at the forefront of the movement providing news, campaigns, reports and calls to action on the local and national level. On their site they provide resources for issue areas for the LGBT movement.


3. World leaders shut it down on climate change like a boss

The U.S. flag is seen as Pope Francis greets the crowd during his arrival to lead his general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican March 27. (CNS photo/Paul Haring) (March 27, 2013) See POPE-AUDIENCE March 27, 2013.

2015 was a big year for climate change. In June, Pope Francis delivered his historic encyclical denouncing the damage humans have done to the environment. He called on policy makers and people of faith to take action on climate change.

“Climate change is a global problem with grave implications: environmental, social, economic, political and for the distribution of goods,” he wrote.

Then, in November, more than 140 world leaders gathered in Paris for two weeks to negotiate an agreement to address the climate crisis. At the gathering, COP21, also known as the 2015 Paris Climate Conference, world leaders agreed to a legally binding agreement to keep global warming below 2°C and abandon fossil fuels.

Who to watch:

There is a lot of great work being done on the multifaceted issue of climate change. From telling stories about climate change, findings ways to communicate across the political aisle to form consensus on climate policy, to creating a global tax on Carbon pollution, to investing in green technologies and jobs, there is much to watch in 2016.

What was your favorite movement? Tell us on Twitter with the hashtag #frankpicks2015, and we will share with the frank community.

Posted: December 31, 2015