By Senator Lena C. Taylor
In thinking about Thanksgiving, I went back over the years to see what I’ve said in the past. In 2013, I wrote “As we scramble around grocery stores and kitchens, finalizing the last minute details of the biggest dinner of the year, I wanted to take a moment to slow down. After all, Thanksgiving is about more than just turkey and sweet potato pie! At its heart, this holiday is about coming together and celebrating all that we have to be thankful for. Therefore, I would like to take an opportunity to share some of the things that I am thankful for and what they mean to me.
To start, I am so thankful for my family and friends. I am grateful that we are all healthy and able to come together and enjoy each other’s company. I am appreciative that we have a roof over our heads and that there will be food on the table. I am ever mindful that we have survived some rough times, and that, together, we have celebrated the good.”
Today, that message still applies for the most part. My parents are aging and life’s responsibilities change. My son is an adult now. I’m adjusting to our new relationship and watching the man he has become. I’ve had to change from three inch heels to sneakers, as I mend from an ankle injury. I’m 10 years older and I hope wiser for the wear.
In 2013, I further opined that “As I list all that I have to be thankful for, I cannot help thinking that there are thousands of people around the state who are not as fortunate; people who go to bed at night in fear of what the next day holds or, in some cases, with no bed at all. What is Thanksgiving like for those who are going without? Without a home? Without healthcare? Without a job? Without the basic means to cook an elaborate dinner, or to simply put food on the table?”
Today, those sentiments still ring true. We’ve introduced new terms like “unhoused,” “food insecure” and “COVID-19”. However the realities are still the same. Millions continue to need help in meeting their basic needs. We’ve added new problems from an older era: CRT, DEI, and Tiki lamps passing for Klan torches.
In 2013, I reflected that “In my role as state senator, I fight to address many of these problems. Although we have made strides in several areas, there are many miles left for us to travel. The journey can seem endless at times and hopelessness can set in. But we can never surrender to the idea that it will always be tough times. As a community, we must fill in the gaps until the ends can meet. As neighbors, we must come together to bring hope to those among us facing a difficult road.
In the spirit of community, both domestic and global, I am mindful of the many families that will have an empty seat at the table. Losses due to illness, natural causes, crime and war have taken their toll. Somedays, it takes work to be thankful.
In 2013, I ended by saying “As we convene to give thanks for what we have, let us rededicate ourselves to giving others new reasons to be thankful”. In 2023, I am thankful for the opportunity to serve this community and collaborate with others to create meaningful change. Then and now, we work to give our community continued reasons to be thankful.