John Oliver chose to end 2016 by literally blowing it up — and most of you probably want to do the same. The past 12 months have been full of moments that were challenging to watch. If you have been paying attention to the news — or even if were trying not to — the negative, offensive rhetoric of the election season seemed to overshadow everything else. But there were plenty of other noteworthy events and social movements in 2016 besides the Trump train. Check out 2016 in America in these 21 remarkable pictures before you bid adieu to the this calendar year.
Next year will bring a whole new raft of challenges, and some of the issues that you see raised here will be back as they are far from resolved. The Black Lives Matters movement has made it clear how they feel about Donald Trump's win, and their activism will likely only increase in 2017. The anti-government sentiment of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge standoff is probably not over, especially considering that white nationalists of the "alt-right" will have a familiar face in the White House with Steve Bannon. So take a look at some of this year's big moments in pictures, and then you can make your resolutions to help improve things in the new year.
1) The Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Standoff
The anti-government militia headed by Ammon Bundy took over federal property in Oregon by force in what they saw as an act of civil disobedience. Police saw it differently, and the leaders were arrested (although eventually acquitted). This truck's signs pretty much shows what this group of people think of the government.
2) Beyoncé Wore A Blank Panther Outfit To The Super Bowl
Singing her hit, "Formation," which had already been connected to Hurricane Katrina and Black Lives Matters through her music video, Beyoncé paid tribute to the Blank Panthers with her and her dancers' outfits.
3) Justice Antonin Scalia Passed Away
The powerful image of Scalia's empty chair at the Supreme Court of the United States would soon turn into a political battle about how to replace him that was ultimately used as a wedge issue in the election.
4) Young Progressives Felt The Bern
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders stayed in the race for the Democratic nomination far longer than anyone expected, buoyed by huge support from younger and more progressive voters.
5) Flint's Water Caused Lead Poisoning
This is an issue that will remain prominent long after Flint's water problems are fixed. The contaminated water — you can see it in the bottles — has been found in communities across the country.
6) Harambe Was Shot & Killed At Cincinnati Zoo
7) Largest Mass-Shooting In History At Gay Club Pulse
Forty-nine people were killed when a gunman with a semi-automatic assault rifle entered one of Orlando's most popular LGBT nightclubs. People are still gathering at the site to mourn.
8) Renewed Calls For Gun Control
The shooting at Pulse sparked more protests against the NRA, which went on to have a fundraiser in Orlando in July — angering many.
9) Black Lives Matters Activists Protested Across The Country
After nearly every shooting of unarmed black men by police in 2016, there were peaceful protests including where this picture was taken in Charlotte, North Carolina. This protest was a response to Keith Lamont Scott being killed by police who were searching for another suspect. Police said he had a handgun while his family insists he was reading a book.
10) Dallas Officers Were Killed At A Protest By A Sniper
There were some violent reactions to the police violence too. A military veteran targeted white police officers at an otherwise non-violent protest against police brutality in Dallas. Police said the shooter was angry about the continued shootings of unarmed black men and wanted revenge. He was eventually cornered by officers and killed, but only after he had shot and killed five Dallas police.
11) Donald Trump Won The GOP Nomination
The former reality TV star, now the president-elect, won enough delegates to win the GOP nomination in May, and was officially selected at the Republican National Convention in July. There he gave a very dark speech about the state in which he sees the country.
12) The U.S. Women's Gymnastics Owned In Rio
Here you see the U.S. women's gymnastics team back from Rio and celebrating in New York City. The extremely diverse team won the gymnastics team gold. It's hard to pick which superstar is most impressive.
13) Hurricane Season Hit Hard In 2016
The U.S. did not escape unscathed this year by hurricanes — and the related flooding and winds. This one, Hurricane Matthew, threatened much of the eastern seaboard and reached North Carolina.
14) Hillary Clinton Won All Three Presidential Debates
Hillary Clinton came out ahead at all three of the debates, effectively painting Trump as off the hinges. He had this nasty habit of hovering behind her as she spoke to the audience.
15) The Rural Voters Strike Back
Clinton's debate performance, however, didn't much matter because Trump went on to win the Electoral College thanks to his wins in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. The rural-urban divide is now larger than ever and may have won Trump the election.
16) Clinton's Supporters See The Bad News Under Glass Ceiling
The pictures from the Javits Center on election night were just devastating. Mixtures of shock, grief, and disappointment were captured by photographers throughout the evening.
17) Clinton Shows What A Graceful Loss Looks Like
Speaking at the Children's Defense Fund, Clinton made her first public appearance since her concession speech. "I will admit, coming here tonight wasn’t the easiest thing for me," she told the crowd. But she showed up anyway singing the praises of the organization where she first got her start out of law school.
18) These Two Decided To Become Buds
Go figure. Kanye West met with the president-elect. The photos from the Trump Tower lobby garnered huge headlines and seemed to come from left field. According to Trump, he and Kanye are friends and have been for a long time.
19) The Dakota Access Pipeline Protests Succeeded
For now — at least until Trump becomes president — the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline has been stopped while the Army Corps of Engineers find a new route to cross the Missouri River. The many Native American protestors, who were joined by activists from across the country, got the world to listen and celebrated the victory.
20) The Anti-Trump Resistance Gears Up For 2017
Protests began immediately after Trump's win from coast to coast. Now organizers are planning even bigger protests on Inauguration Day and Jan. 21 when the Women's March On Washington will take place.
21) There Are Lots Of New Americans
One upside to the divisive election was the huge wave of new applicants for citizenship. The number of applications was up over the summer from 2012 numbers as people tried to vote in the election. Thanks to these new American citizens, our country is more diverse than ever.
These photos are a reminder that the vast majority of 2016 was hard to watch. And there's no guarantee that next year will be better. But you can make a difference. Make a resolution to make change in your community and country, and who knows what 2017 will bring.