10 Things We’re Thankful For This Thanksgiving
The grocery stores were crowded this weekend as people picked up all of the fixings for their upcoming Thanksgiving meal. Soon the roads and airports will be packed with travelers going near and far to see family and friends. In this time of bounty, we are mindful of course of the millions who can’t afford a big feast or a warm home in which to host it. And we’ll keep fighting for them. Despite the stubbornness of poverty and inequality that exists in America today, we know that we have many, many things to be thankful for this year. Here are just a few of them:
- We’re thankful for President Obama’s executive action on immigration, which will finally allow some of our undocumented immigrant neighbors to come out of the shadows and stop living in fear.
- We’re thankful for voters in five states and two cities who voted to support minimum wage increases on Election Day, and for voters in Massachusetts who approved a measure to ensure employees could earn and use paid sick time to care for themselves or their family.
- We’re thankful Congress passed and the President signed into law the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act, which reauthorizes the child care program for the first time since 1996 and increases the authorized level of funding for state efforts to help low-income families pay for child care; the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, which provides a wide range of services for low-income people and individuals with disabilities and other barriers to employment; and the Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act, which focuses on the needs of older youth in foster care and increases protections against sex trafficking of foster youth.
- We’re thankful for our basic safety net programs, especially SNAP/food stamps, Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, unemployment insurance, and the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit, which keep millions out of poverty and kept child poverty from skyrocketing during the Great Recession. We know SNAP and unemployment insurance could have helped more if they hadn’t been cut, but they remain vitally important anti-poverty resources.
- We’re thankful, especially on this food-centered holiday, for the food banks that serve 1 in 7 Americans, and for all our friends who work tirelessly on the ground to directly serve our low-income and disadvantaged neighbors. Along those same lines…
- We’re thankful for the many state partners who worked with us to release state poverty data reports, raising awareness of poverty and policy solutions in their states; for the 160-plus national organizations who joined with us in telling Congress we need full-year funding that meets our country’s urgent needs; the 1900-plus local, state, and national organizations who are a part of our SAVE for ALL campaign; and for our community who gathers regularly in DC at CHN’s Friday Advocates Meetings to share information and actions.
- We’re thankful for powerful people who use their position to speak out against inequality, as Federal Reserve Bank Chair Janet Yellen did.
- We’re thankful for those who, though struggling the most in the Great Recession, found a way to dig even deeper into their pockets and increase their charitable giving during these tough times to help charities help their communities.
- We’re thankful for everyone who has submitted their story through the Our American Story action network to show how policies impact real people. Through their stories, they remind our leaders that there are people behind the statistics and that poverty doesn’t have one face or take just one form.
- We’re thankful for your support during the first six months of our new blog, which has allowed us to reach out to more advocates and connect with you in a new way. We’re also thankful for all of our guest bloggers, who shared pieces on the minimum wage, hunger, child care, the safety net, Ferguson, unemployment insurance, and more. Most of all, we’re thankful for all of you for subscribing, reading, sharing and commenting on the blog.
And because it is Thanksgiving, we also know that you might find yourself around a dinner table having a conversation with THAT relative – you know the one, who sees the world differently from the way you do and wants to debate the issues affecting our low-income neighbors. His or her take on things might even start to sound like one of our Head Smackers. If this might be in store for your holiday, prepare yourself by reading some of our Facts of the Week so you’ll have the data on your side. And then tell us about it – or share what you’re thankful for – in the comments section below.
Thanks again for reading, and a very Happy Thanksgiving to you all!