10 Things We’re Thankful for This Thanksgiving
Gathering with friends and family. Packed roads and airports. Turkey with all the trimmings. Thanksgiving is upon us once again. 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 the Supreme Court’s decision upholding the use of subsidies in the Affordable Care Act, which meant that 6.4 million Americans can keep their subsidies and their insurance without fear of skyrocketing prices. We’re also thankful for the 31 states that have chosen to expand Medicaid, giving health coverage to millions of low-income people, and for the two-year extension of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which covers more than 8 million children in low-income families. All of these have led to a significant drop in the percentage of uninsured Americans – something we can all be thankful for.
- We’re thankful for all of the advocates who took action to #StopTheCuts, and for the members of Congress who voted for a bipartisan budget deal to eliminate the majority of harmful spending caps in 2016 and 2017, raise the debt ceiling, avoid benefit cuts for recipients of Social Security Disability Insurance, and avoid a large premium jump for a sizable number of Medicare beneficiaries. We need to keep beating the drum to ensure that the additional funding from the budget deal goes to human needs programs, without harmful policy riders that could stop an FY16 spending package in its tracks, and we know you’ll be there with us.
- We’re thankful for advocates and elected officials who believe we must not abandon our values by turning our backs on desperate people fleeing violence, whether in Syria, Central America or other parts of the world. Welcoming refugees is a sign and a source of our nation’s strength.
- 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.
- We’re thankful for advocates who show how policies impact real people, like these amazing Native American youth, this young woman who shares her own story of homelessness, and everyone who submitted their story through the Community Voices: Why Nutrition Assistance Matters campaign. Through their stories, they remind our leaders that there are people behind the statistics and that poverty, hunger and inequality don’t have one face or take just one form.
- 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, are better for the economy and help children and families at every stage of life.
- We’re thankful for champions in Congress and the Obama Administration who put forth legislation and policy changes to reduce inequality in the areas of sentencing reform, family friendly legislation, overtime pay, a living wage, reforming TANF, and reauthorizing child nutrition and education programs. The work on these issues continues. We’re also thankful for those who stand up against bad legislation.
- We’re thankful for our member organizations who continue to support CHN and put out great Resources from Around the Coalition to help us all do our work better; the many state partners who worked with us to release state poverty data reports, raising awareness of poverty and policy solutions in their states; the 1300-plus local, state, and national organizations who are a part of our SAVE for ALL campaign; our friends who supported our Human Needs Hero event; and for our community who gathers regularly in DC at CHN’s Friday Advocates Meetings to share information and actions.
- We’re thankful for all of our guest bloggers, who shared pieces on the minimum wage, low- income tax credits, hunger, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, ending family detention policies, reforming TANF, and more. We’re also thankful for those who cross-posted our blog pieces, including MomsRising, Oxfam America, the Pennsylvania Council of Churches and others, for helping to spread the word about the many important issues covered on our blog.
- Most of all, we’re thankful for all of you for taking action on our action alerts, following and sharing our posts on Facebook and Twitter, writing op-eds and letters to editors, participating in our webinars, Twitterstorms and Tweetchats, sharing our Human Needs Reports, national poverty report and our emails with friends, donating to CHN, and 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!