Many people have mixed feelings about Thanksgiving. Knowing the history of colonization, subjugation, and mass genocide committed by white settlers toward Native peoples across this country is an unsettling reality when compared to the narrative most of us were taught in elementary school—that of a happy and peace-filled dinner between pilgrims and Native people. We know the idea of Thanksgiving is nothing more than one of the many myths created by settlers to mythologize the founding of this country and disguise the truth and the glaring atrocities committed for hundreds of years.
Those realities exist and it is my hope that many of us reflect on the land in which we now live and work. It is also my hope that for those of us fortunate enough to gather around the table with family and friends, we are thankful for the sacrifices others have endured for us to be able to have this moment of reflection.
I try to use Thanksgiving as a time to really sit with my countless blessings. The most obvious area of thanksgiving is the abundance of food on the table and the laughter coming from almost every corner of the house. I know so many families will have an empty seat at the table this year, having lost loved ones to the coronavirus, the racist incarceration system, or some other ailment. I know some families may have had to scale back this year because their financial security is not what it used to be. Others may be celebrating Thanksgiving in a new locale due to housing insecurity or eviction.
I will be thinking of so many different families this year as I sit down with my family and friends. So many soup kitchens and pantries are stocked for Thanksgiving due to the generosity of strangers. However, many of these important institutions need people to show their generosity throughout the year.
One of the organizations I support on a monthly basis is Fuel the People. They are guided by the belief that, “Food is the fuel for the revolution; Fuel The People works to provide nourishment to protestors on the front lines, support local Black and POC-owned restaurants and businesses, and donate to local organizations who work tirelessly to support Black liberation. The fight for liberation and justice goes beyond protests, and we must remember that Black joy and prosperity are also worth fighting for.”
There are so many organizations doing the work to provide meals and solidarity to people in need. I hope this holiday season as you take stock of your many blessings, large and small, you remember to support the many organizations doing the work year round.
Happy Thanksgiving to all of our readers and thank you for being a part of my extended Amsterdam News family. Wishing you and yours a safe holiday season.
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.