Being Thankful in 2020

2020 has been a year that few can say they’re thankful for. The worldwide lockdowns in March and April, the horrifying murder of George Floyd in May and the effects of record-breaking wildfires are only a few of the things that have proved this year to be a series of unfortunate events. As health officials warn that a second stay at home order may be approaching as the country recovers from a divisive election, the word “grateful” is far from in anybody’s vocabulary to describe their feelings towards this year. But with Thanksgiving only two weeks away, there are a few things that deserve a thank you.

Covid-19 has kept Americans stranded at home with canceled plans, lost jobs, leaving the economy in shambles, yet in the midst of havoc, teachers kept a sense of normalcy in their virtual classrooms. Beginning March 12th, when all of our phones lit up with the news that school would be canceled until after spring break, teachers quickly rushed to create a plan to make sure learning continued through the national crisis. Teachers hurried to make Schoology pages and write lesson plans, to grapple with the national unrest themselves, but still choosing to be there for their students. When we went under lockdown, custodians, health care workers and truck drivers became frontline workers. By continuing to go to work every day in a global pandemic, they never failed to put the needs of our community before themselves. 

This summer, following the murder of George Floyd, activists flooded the streets to protest racial injustice. The protests sparked an international movement, leading millions of people to educate themselves and start uncomfortably yet long overdue and necessary conversations. The movement has created a remarkable chain reaction of change and has pushed individuals to reexamine their own racial biases.

When record-breaking wildfires sparked this fall in California, Oregon and Colorado, firefighters didn’t hesitate to rush into the flames, saving lives and fighting to protect homes and communities. Volunteers came from other cities and states, offering to help in any way possible. 

As the 2020 election approached, teenagers across the country, who were not yet old enough to vote themselves, organized phone banks, worked with nonprofits, wrote postcards encouraging people to vote and led the US to hit a record high voter turnout this year. 

2020 has undoubtedly been an awful year, but through every horrific event our country has endured, there have always been people working hard to help us get through them. This year has brought incredible amounts of devastation and loss. Still, this Thanksgiving, let’s take the opportunity to show gratitude for the workers, teachers, activists, political leaders and neighbors who worked to foster hope and resilience through every crisis our community has faced.