• Janna Lauer

Advocacy Newsletter Email- Happy Thanksgiving

Updated: Apr 2, 2021


I want to start by wishing you a very happy Thanksgiving! But I also understand that you might have some complicated feelings about this holiday, I know I do. And that is ok, it's part of the process.

Though it is not an experience shared by all, I know in non-COVID times, many of us look forward to gathering with family and friends for a day of delicious food and animated conversation. However, for me and many others, this joy is always complicated by the reminder of the painful history behind this day. We in the USA must contend with our colonial history, especially around our holidays. We need to understand that the historical fiction of this holiday and the centuries old conflicts surrounding it have roots in white supremacy. And it is our duty, if we choose to continue to celebrate, to take the opportunity to mindfully evolve to a more inclusive attitude and narrative. We need to acknowledge the pain caused by the actions of our ancestors and the systems they established, but we can also embrace the universal sentiment of gratitude.

Harvest festivals of gratitude are common throughout the world. A good harvest is, after all, one of the most natural things to celebrate. You and your community have worked hard, and now is the time to reap the benefits.

This year, as with everything else, it is more complicated. We have been asked to work even harder than before, not necessarily for our food, but for our communities. We have been asked to make personal sacrifices and not gather with our loved ones this holiday in order to protect our frontline workers and healthcare systems. We have been asked to look at ourselves and understand the roles we play in the racist systems so that we can truly live up to the ideals that we were taught along with the Native American and Pilgrim story.

Luckily, we can celebrate and practice our gratitude before we finish that work. We at the Advocacy Collaborative are grateful for you and all of the hard work you do. We are grateful for your uniqueness and the perspective that you bring to your role (cliché as it maybe).

At our last meeting, our discussion focused on how we can best support the diverse cultures of both our staff and our clients. How can we revamp our tools and resources to better serve everyone? What can we do to foster an attitude of cultural curiosity? How do we make space to see and celebrate the individual?

Though we are a smart group, we do not have all the answers. But you do. If you have any thoughts on the above questions or interest in joining us, please email myself or Vanessa Sovine and we will add you to our communications. We meet every other Friday at 7am, with our next meeting being Dec 4th.

I will close with one more call to action. Regardless of how you celebrate this year or in the future, keep in mind your perspective and those around you. Explore with curiosity, "What does thanksgiving/gratitude mean to me and those around me?"

Happy thanksgiving,

The Advocacy Collaborative

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