Choosing the best photographs to summarize 2017 is no easy task. It involves looking through thousands of images to find the ones that not only captured the news but the people and places that defined the year.
These are moments when the community came together to stand up against perceived injustices, to support their neighbors or to simply share an experience. In March, for example, the Ravenswood City School District hosted a forum that brought the East Palo Alto Police Department and neighbors together to address fears about the city's immigration policies as U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) began to increase its roundups of undocumented workers across the country.
And in August when the transnational solar eclipse passed over California for the first time in 38 years, people gathered on neighborhood streets and hiking trails, outside offices and at NASA Ames to watch 76 percent of the sun disappear behind a shadow.
In October, countless local volunteers came together to pack more than seven truckloads of emergency supplies headed for Santa Rosa, as well as participate in other relief efforts for the victims of the North Bay fires.
There were moments when communities spoke out, such as in May, when a Palo Alto High School student organized a GoFundMe campaign and distributed "I Stand With Victims of Sexual Assault" wristbands following news that a male student had allegedly sexually assaulted a classmate but was allowed to remain on campus for months afterward.
There also were the protesters who organized outside of Palo Alto's City Hall to rally against President Donald Trump's attempt to institute a travel ban against primarily Muslim countries. In November, students at Stanford University staged a walkout when the Stanford College Republicans invited Robert Spencer, a speaker with anti-Islam and anti-Jihad views, to speak on campus.
And there were moments of reflection, too, such as when Palo Alto Police Chief Dennis Burns looked back on his 35 years with the department during his final days on the job; or when U.S. Marines veteran Frank Aldama spoke about his struggles trying to find employment and housing in the area. Like many others who lost their housing due to escalating rent, Aldama found himself living in an RV along El Camino Real.
And then there was Brandon Gregg, who has suffered with severe depression for more than 40 years. He shared how an experimental new study being led at Stanford University finally offered him relief from his symptoms.
Moments like these defined the community in 2017.