Ten things we’re thankful for this Thanksgiving 


November 25, 2020

The nation – indeed, much of the world – is on fire with infection. Here at home, we’ve yet to launch an effective national response to controlling COVID-19. And our economy is in tatters, millions pushed into poverty, essential workers facing racial discrimination, women forced out of the workforce, families struggling to pay for food, meet rent, and cover an array of other expenses from transportation to utilities to healthcare costs.

And yet: there are things that those of us in the human needs community can be thankful for as we prepare to observe a very different Thanksgiving than past holidays (Zoomgiving, anyone?).

Here are ten things that come to mind:

  1. Democracy and elections. There was probably something about the Nov. 3 election outcomes for everyone to like or dislike – that party took the White House, this party made gains in the House, that Senate seat was won, this one was lost, and so on. But the fact is, we participated – when every last vote is finally counted, it appears that the highest percentage of eligible voters will have cast ballots in 120 years. We are thankful, too, for the tireless ballot-counters and election officials who put nation and law first, despite baseless lawsuits and conspiracy-mongering.
  2. Lawful transitions. For all his bluff and bluster, President Trump will leave office by Jan. 20, just as the law requires. And finally, the federal resources needed by the Biden transition have been unlocked.
  3. The rule of law. So often during his lone term in office, President Trump tried to reshape America through executive fiat. But as we’ve documented again and again at Voices for Human Needs, he has often failed, because of our nation’s (still) independent judiciary.
  4. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
  5. U.S. Rep. John Lewis.
  6. vaccine! Several, even, tested with high rates of effectiveness.
  7. The safety net. We’re thankful for our basic safety net programs, especially SNAP/food stamps, Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, and low-income tax credits. U.S. Census Bureau data don’t tell the whole story, since these data points are pre-pandemic, but we know that these programs lifted millions out of poverty in 2019. And add thanks for Medicaid, opening health care for millions of people. The disastrous pandemic shows that all need to be strengthened, most urgently SNAP, Medicaid and low-income tax credits, so their proven effectiveness can help more.
  8. Save for All. We’re thankful to be part of the Save for All campaign, which stands for Strengthening America’s Values and Economy for All. Over the past year, Save for All members have made hundreds of visits to congressional members’ offices (physically and then remotely) to advocate for programs and funding to meet human needs.
  9. Human Needs Heroes. Last month, CHN (virtually) hosted our annual Human Needs Heroes gala, during which we honored census advocates Count all Kids and Census Counts and the Protecting Immigrant Families campaign. We’re thankful for all of you who supported us – and for the tremendous, generous foundation and individual support during these dire times. If you missed the event, or just want a recap, go here.
  10. You. We at CHN are grateful for the member groups that comprise and define our Coalition and the work they do, the hundreds of local, state, and national organizations that are part of our Save for All campaign, our COVID 19 Policy Group, and the hundreds of thousands of individuals who support CHN through their actions, petitions, signatures, calls and emails to Congress. We are also truly thankful for your generous donations. Some come anonymously through Donor Advised Funds, so we can’t thank you directly. But please know how grateful we are. We could not take on this important and monumental work without this amazing variety of support.

Whether it is a traditional Thanksgiving or a Zoomgiving, we wish you a safe and joyous holiday,

From all of us at CHN


Coalition on Human Needs