Ten Things We’re Thankful for This Thanksgiving
Higher costs for basic needs continue to make life difficult for many Americans – so does the end of many pandemic-era programs that helped people access health care, put food on the table, afford child care, and so much more. Wars rage in Ukraine, in the Middle East, and elsewhere. It seems as if more refugees are displaced every day, and sometimes it feels like climate change might make refugees of us all.
And yet: there are things to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. Here are ten things that come to mind to those of us at CHN:
- The growing care economy and those who are fighting to strengthen it. When it comes to care – care for children, care for the aging, care for people with disabilities, for instance – COVID-19 laid bare just how lacking our care infrastructure is. Now, sometimes in historic ways, we are taking steps to build it. “A once-in-a-century crisis that took a sledgehammer to an already weak status quo of care has been a generational turning point,” a recent report found. “We don’t yet know what historians will say about this moment, but it’s left an unprecedented footprint on how America cares.”
- Unions. From UAW to Starbucks to Kaiser Permanente to UPS to the Hollywood writers, unions won wage increases and better benefits for their members. The wins are offsetting income inequality. And public approval of unions is at a six-year high.
- Rosalynn Carter. We lost Rosalynn this past weekend – but we were thankful and lucky to have her as long as we did. Carter blazed the way for First Ladies in our country, taking the most activist approach of any First Lady since Eleanor Roosevelt. She brought mental health issues to the forefront while in the White House. After she and her husband left office, she could often be found side-by-side with Jimmy Carter toting a toolbelt as the two worked to build affordable housing through Habitat for Humanity.
- The hundreds of thousands of emails sent, calls made, and petitions signed as members of the CHN community called on Congress to pass responsible budgets and protect human needs. Together we defended child care, Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, affordable housing, education, children’s nutrition, fair tax policies, and so much more.
5. 50 years of WIC. In January, we celebrate WIC’s 50th anniversary. The program has been credited with improving children’s health, developmental and education outcomes. In August of this year, it served 7 million people, an all-time high. We are grateful for the tireless advocacy of so many in our community working to ensure WIC does not turn away eligible families in the coming year.
6. Richelle Friedman. CHN’s long-time Senior Director of Public Policy, “ended her D.C. ministry” earlier this year and moved home to Iowa, where she continues to pursue progressive advocacy. We miss her terribly, and were thankful we could celebrate her at CHN’s Human Needs Hero reception in July. But we are thankful that Meredith Dodson has joined us as CHN’s new Senior Director of Public Policy.
7. Immigrants. At a time when the U.S. population is aging and labor force growth is slowing, we are grateful for the contributions of immigrants to the U.S. economy as well as culture. But restrictions against immigrants have reduced their entrance into our labor force, and worsened labor shortages in construction, leisure, and hospitality, according to the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank. We are thankful for the opportunity to join with immigrant advocates, whose stand for justice strengthens us.
8. The all-too-often underappreciated tireless work of civil servants at the national, state, and local level who provide effective government services that lift millions of Americans out of poverty each year.
9. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and his fingers. for pointing out the need for Senator Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) to remember he’s a U.S. Senator – or at least, to remember he’s a grown-up.
10. You. We at CHN are thankful for the individuals and member groups who support CHN through your contributions. We are so thankful for the work that you do, who respond to our requests to contact officials or talk to the press, and the hundreds of thousands of individuals who support CHN through your actions, petition signatures, and calls and emails to Congress. We could not take on this great work without your action and support.
We wish you a restful and restorative holiday surrounded by family and friends – from all of us at CHN.