I’m sure most of us are happy to have 2016 behind us. Everywhere we looked there seemed to be bad news; crippling weather, celebrity scandals, and politicians berating each other, the scent of despair heavy in the air.
But we looked around at our Miami community and realized there is no reason to panic. It’s all going to be just fine. How do we know?
Just take a look at some of the positive things that happened in Miami-Dade during 2016.
5 Positive Stories from 2016
South Florida was home to dozens of athletes that participated in the 2016 Rio games. Many of the world’s best athletes call the Miami area home. Brianna Rollins returned home as a hero as the first person from Miami to ever win gold in an individual track and field event. Sylvia “Baby Shaq” Fowles is the first woman to dunk in an international basketball game, while Ashleigh Johnson broke boundaries, leading the US to a women’s water polo gold.
Miami is becoming safer
Even as the national rates, and even Florida as a whole, are trending up, crime rates in Miami are actually going down. According to the FBI, major crimes in Miami-Dade dropped by 6.8%, even as they increased elsewhere in Florida. Police Chief Rodolfo Llanes has attributed the improvements to better community policing.
The Dolphins Made the Playoffs
After many years of consistent losing, the Dolphins had become a dead fish franchise. With Adam Gase in his first year as the head coach, he began turning things around by helping Miami reach the playoffs for the first time in years; despite a horrible running defense and several of their top players being injured for most of the season.
Miami-Dade Schools Are Improving
Florida schools have been struggling for a while, but recent changes have resulted in positive improvements. Five years ago, only 76% of Miami-Dade high schoolers would earn their diplomas, but now that rate is moving up every year, currently at more than 80%. As part of a program meant to increase graduation rates statewide, our schools have implemented technology to help identify struggling students and get them into programs to improve their literacy. Miami-Dade has even taken it a step further by adding an additional period to struggling schools in the county.
Dee Gordon’s Home Run
If 2016 taught us anything, it’s that we should look for the positive moments in a world that’s transfixed with negative stories and sadness. The passing of Florida Marlins Jose Fernandez was a shock to all of us. In their next game, with the whole team wearing #12 in memory of their lost teammate, Gordon was the first out of the gate. Dee is the last one on the team we’d expect to crank one out of the park, but he did just that, before jogging around the bases with tears in his eyes. Watch the memorable moment for yourself.
Miami — A Glass Half Full
The rest of the country might have been focused on how 2016 was the worst year ever. I have a different opinion. I think we had some great moments and that we shouldn’t always focus on the negative events. There will always be bad news, but we should choose to live in a glass-half-full world, and overcome negativity with positivity.
I think we have a lot to look forward to in 2017; even if we have a few bumps along the way.