Like a lot of people, my 2020 holiday season was marked by reflection and gratitude. After spending weeks in an apartment during lockdown and then being unable to travel for the holidays, I came to appreciate how important family, friends, and shared traditions are to me in a way I never previously understood. As we come up on a second pandemic Thanksgiving, I can’t help but once again reflect on what I’m grateful for as I settle into my role at Empower Missouri.
This year, I’m thankful for the incredible community of advocates I’ve had the pleasure of meeting over the past two months, primarily through the Anti-Poverty Advocates Summit. Whether it was sponsors, presenters, or attendees, the passion and knowledge everyone brought to the Summit was unbelievable. I even enjoyed working with you all to sort out tech issues, because despite the frustration, I was happy to finally meet the human behind your email signatures. Looking forward, I’m excited to meet even more of Empower Missouri’s partners in 2022.
That said, it’s important to acknowledge that for many indigenous people Thanksgiving is a Day of Mourning. Native Americans face some of the highest rates of food insecurity, housing instability, and criminalization, and it’s a direct result of U.S. and Missouri colonization. As we head into Thanksgiving weekend, let’s not just remember to be thankful. Let’s also use this time to recommit ourselves to ending poverty for all Missourians, especially Missouri’s indigenous residents.
Development and Operations Manager