Our 10 Best Solutions Stories You Might Have Missed This Year

A better world often starts as a small act. Change is possible. These stories from the past year prove it.

Throughout 2017, some of our most-read articles were timely commentaries on hot-button issues like white privilege, white supremacy, and the politics of activism. That’s understandable. It’s been that kind of year.

But for more than 20 years, YES! has been known for solutions journalism, reporting on community efforts to build a just, sustainable, and compassionate world.  We focus on solutions that can lead to greater social justice, solutions often at the intersection of the many climate, economic justice, and racial justice movements. 

So don’t forget about the solutions stories. A better world often starts as a small act, a creative response. Change is possible. Here are 10 stories from the past year that prove it. 

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This Small Town Refused to Settle for Walmart When Its Last Local Grocery Store Closed

After 10 years without an independent grocery store, the residents of Iola, Kansas, found a way to bring one back.


How Neighbors Turned Unused Buildings Into a Thriving Community Hub

As rents rise and independent businesses in Minneapolis lose their leases to large national chains, a first-of-its-kind co-op found a solution.


Los Angeles Preempts Trump’s
Deportation Plans By Finally Decriminalizing Street Vending

After years of work, advocates for immigrant rights rejoiced at the permit process, which will help keep 50,000 street vendors on the right side of the law.


Research is showing that health care can be an engine for community change. 


In a Rust Belt Town Where Tuition Is Covered,
Economy Begins to Revive

After Kalamazoo, Michigan, offered college tuition for nearly all high school graduates, dropout rates declined and the city’s population began to rebound.


How the Neighborhood That Inspired “The Wire” Is Pulling Its Residents Out of Poverty

When large institutions like universities and hospitals agree to hire and spend locally, they can transform neighborhoods hardest hit by poverty and unemployment.

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How Chicago Became the First City to Make Reparations to Victims of Police Violence

The ordinance provides a meaningful model for creating reparations at the local level.

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How an Ancient Singing Tradition Helps
People Cope With Trauma
 in the Modern World

In Finland, lament singing is experiencing a revival, one sad song at a time.


Blackfeet Researcher Leads Her Tribe
Back to Traditional Foods

Forced assimilation destroyed most nations’ diets, but now Native youth are learning to integrate local foods back into their daily lives.


This Town Adopted Trauma-Informed Care—And Saw a Decrease in Crime and Suspension Rates

“The town seemed to transform from black and white to color.”