This year's hot button issues included immigration reform, LGBTQ rights, civil rights, women's rights, domestic violence, gun rights, and acts of violence between police officers and civilians. Despite the tension and disagreement brought on by news stories, community members stepped up to shed light in thoughtful ways. Take a look at some of the highlights from your most spirited discussions throughout the year.
NolanKingston: I think every person whose ancestors migrated to America since the Mayflower landed should be deported first, and then let's talk.
Majid Safaie: It is sad to witness such inhumane treatment of these individuals in 21st century. I wonder when are we going to mature enough to understand that we are all equal regardless of sexual orientation. The United Nation needs to pass a law to outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation by any member country.
pat from tex: Attorney General Eric Holder is the first attorney general to address and to enact the civil rights of persons with disabilities … all these years the Olmstead Act, which states that persons with disabilities have the civil rights of any other person to choose where they live with services. Up until he was the Attorney General, no one ever addressed the law.
Natalia Franco: I hope that one day people stop buying guns and start buying books and music, knowing that violence can only be defeated through culture.
Samantha3: [I hope] doctors will be trained, available, and un-harassed to provide safe abortions for women who choose to have one.
RELATED: Growing Hope
L78lancer: Domestic violence is extremely complex … It’s completely unreasonable and unfair to question a woman’s decisions or decision-making process in a situation like that not knowing the dynamics of her mental and emotional state after having been abused.
@virginiamlee: What a hoot she was … Both Joan Rivers and Robin Williams will be rolling the heavens with laughter. Trust me … they will not by any means be resting in peace … they will be just doing their thing.
El Brando the Dreamer: His mother called him a gentle giant. The video of him before the shooting may give him a different appearance. However, both of these are easily reconciled. Michael Brown was a human being. He could be gentle and rash and caring and frightening just as all of us can be at certain times in our lives. We are all at times perfect and flawed and wonderful and abhorrent.
Patricia Tursi: The militarization of our local police incites a military action. The description that recited the policeman's report, rather than saying it was under investigation angered me. I live in Missouri. I wish I could have joined the protest. This looks like a military invasion. I have not seen anything like this since Selma. Michael Brown's murder was wrong and he joins many other unarmed citizens that have died this year from police brutality ... Are we at war with our government?
ElitistLiberal: I smoked a pack of Marlboro Reds every day from 1997-2008. Quitting was really hard, but I used the patch and chewed lots of sugar-free gum to help with the oral fixation. If my chain-smoking butt can quit, anyone can quit. I now run 4 miles a day and feel more alive than I did throughout my twenties when I was a smoker. Food tastes better, flowers smell stronger, and I look and feel better than before. If you smoke, think about quitting now. Think of the money you'll save in addition to how many years you could potentially be adding to your life.
(Comments have been edited for clarity.)