This Thanksgiving will likely be a unique experience for many. Countless families are choosing to forego the large celebrations and family gatherings in order to keep loved ones safe and healthy in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis.
Due to the failures of our leadership on local, state and national levels, we as a nation have been unable to curtail the virus, provide consistent information, and keep the death rates and rates of contraction to low levels. Sadly, Black American and Latino communities have been disproportionately affected by this deadly virus and we have experienced losses in our community at rates that are truly heart breaking.
Although we are dealing with a global pandemic, systemic racism, and inequities in almost all facets of our lives, we know we still have so much to be thankful for during this Thanksgiving and upcoming holiday season.
This Thanksgiving will likely be difficult for many who will not be able to celebrate with their large families. However, we must remember that this is a small sacrifice to ensure our safety and well-being. So many families look forward to the holiday season where they gather to fellowship, cook, laugh and catch up. Although many of us are missing the family gatherings, we must remember that the threat of coronavirus is still very real. Many people exhibit no symptoms and inadvertently infect their loved ones. The dangers of the coronavirus extend beyond our elderly loved ones. Young and middle-aged Black Americans continue to suffer from possible long-term effects of the coronavirus.
It is my hope that this Thanksgiving we can be creative and develop new memories and traditions. I know so many people are exhausted from sitting on Zoom for work or schooling. If this is the case, we might try to reframe what this holiday really means to us. We can use it as a time to reflect on the origins of our nation and reflect on the Native American tribes who have lost so much during the pursuit of this American experiment.
In thinking of new ways to celebrate this holiday, especially if we are not with loved ones, we can use it as a time to just relax and have a day not spent in the kitchen over a hot stove. We could also try new recipes without incurring the wrath of critical family members who are accustomed to particular dishes. I always chuckle thinking about my family members who have dared to experiment with new recipes during a large family gathering.
However you choose to celebrate this Thanksgiving, I hope you spend time reflecting on the myriad ways you have been granted blessings and abundance this year. Even if the days seem dark, there are always so many things for which to be thankful. Happy Thanksgiving.
Christina Greer, Ph.D., is an associate professor at Fordham University, the author of “Black Ethnics: Race, Immigration, and the Pursuit of the American Dream,” and the co-host of the podcast FAQ-NYC.