TWH – Today is Thanksgiving, a holiday largely celebrated in the United States, some U.S. territories, and Brazil. There are 15 other countries that have a similar holiday celebrated at different times of the year. Canada celebrates it on the second Monday in October.
There is also a painful side to Thanksgiving. The United American Indians of New England recognize it as the National Day of Mourning and one of protest since 1970.
For Native Americans, the myth of the first Thanksgiving that is spoonfed to most Americans reflects the deep disparity between American ideology and the actual history of the treatment meted out by Europeans to Indigenous peoples. The myth is the revisionism of history that favored the colonists and, until recently, erased the lived reality of Indigenous peoples in North America.
This year many celebrations are muted by the pandemic. There are new restrictions in place in the hopes of limiting the spread of COVID-19 amid the rapidly rising cases around the globe. Some are heeding the recommendations; others are not.
2020 has been the year of the pandemic but it has also exposed our racial divides, police violence, and economic disparity. The year has seen the most contentious US general election and political landscape in the modern era, political challenges in Europe and China, record hurricanes, record unemployment and food insecurity, not to mention the millions of intimate challenges from homeschooling to finding PPE that we have each faced.
Let us not forget the lives we have lost to the pandemic. There are empty chairs this Thanksgiving dinner, and at every meal around the world.
Summoning up the will to express gratitude might present its own challenge. But there is still much to be thankful for.
Science is succeeding. The election is over. Many communities have realized they have neighbors.
There are little victories too: handfastings, graduations, elevations, and personal discoveries.
We have witnessed systems- medical, educational, economic, and others- fall apart in front of us this year. But we have also learned that we have the power to repair our frayed systems and build new ones out of the pieces.
The year has made us aware of our social, political, climatic, and economic weaknesses. They have been laid before us as the collective work ahead. It may be difficult to consider, but we can be thankful that we can create a better future.
We have witnessed the amazing spirit of our fellow humans. We give thanks to those who raised their voices for change. We give thanks to the healthcare workers, the grocery clerks, the teachers, and the first responders. We give thanks to those who stayed home and those two walked into the storm.
We add a special thank you to you, our readers.
TWH wishes everyone a brush with gratitude today. May we each find something to be thankful for, even if we have to look a little harder.