While a number of 2012’s biggest news stories had everyone talking, there were also those that came and went with very little attention from the masses…and that’s not a good thing. Check out some of the most important stories of the year that you may have missed:

1. The Violence Against Women Act Hasn’t Been Reauthorized: For the first time since it was originally passed in 1994, the VAWA is being blocked along partisan lines and has failed to be reauthorized.  Republicans in the House of Representatives refuse to pass the reauthorization already approved by the Senate because of added provisions funding assistance for Native American victims.

2. The Killing Of Rekia Boyd: While the national media focus was on the tragic killing of Trayvon Martin, another young unarmed African American, 22 year old Rekia Boyd, was also shot and killed. Boyd was killed by an off duty police officer who mistook her friend’s cell phone for a gun. The officer involved claims that the young woman’s companion pulled out a gun—which turned out to be his cell phone— and he attempted to shoot him, missed, and shot Boyd in the head by mistake.

3. A Sister ‘Stands Her Ground,’ Is Jailed: In Florida, Marissa Alexander— a woman who shot a warning shot at her domestic abuser—was imprisoned despite having what seems to be a legitimate under the state’s “Stand Your Ground” law.  The question then became, if George Zimmerman could cite the law in the killing of Trayvon Martin, how come Alexander couldn’t do the same?

4. Occupy Oakland Organized A Strike At the Port of Oakland: The Occupy movement was largely out of the news in 2012, but in Oakland they organized a strike of dock workers with help from the Teamsters and SEIU after a conflict during contract negotiations.  The Port of Oakland, the nation’s largest port was disrupted by the striking workers and those supporters who refused to cross the picket lines in solidarity with the unions.

5.  The Civil War In Syria: What started as peaceful protests have now devolved into a full scale civil war with upwards of 40,000 people killed in the fighting.  The United States and other western nations are supporting the opposition, as the regime of Bashar Assad continues to keep a stranglehold on power in one of the most unstable areas in the world.