Photo credit: Any Lane

Genuine gratitude this Thanksgiving

Whether we wanted some or not, we all had to have a slice of humble pie these past two years, adjust our lens and recognize the blessings.

By March 31, 2020 192, 301 coronavirus cases and 5,334 deaths were reported in the United States. Needless to say, those numbers skyrocketed as time progressed. Eventually, a number of those infected in the coming months translated to the loss of loved ones and friends. For some, the pandemic meant severe sickness, or in other cases, job loss hit others. Now that the holiday season approaches again, many are taking on a whole new meaning of the word thanksgiving.

“Thankful to God for keeping me COVID free,” photographer, musician and owner of Strings & Keys Publishing, Cecil Sanchez, recounted his experience over the course of the pandemic. As was the case for many Americans, his job was eliminated when most of the world was ordered to shelter in place. Prior to that, Sanchez was the middleman in charge of x-raying packages and ensuring that nothing suspicious entered the building where he was employed.

“That door closed for me because there was no one in the building,” said Sanchez. The pandemic forced him to pivot and wear some of his many hats. In addition to photography, Sanchez spends time working as a recording and mixing engineer. Nevertheless, he points out that he is thankful for his family being in good health. 

“I just count it all joy,” he says.

For Marty Rogers, a public servant in his own right, Thanksgiving is and always was about helping the less fortunate. What began as an annual Thanksgiving dinner for seniors in 1977, expanded into dinner for anyone who found themselves homeless.

“They’re not homeless people, they’re people who are homeless,” said Rogers as he reminisces about the past 44 years he spent hosting the Thanksgiving dinner at the Immaculate Conception church in the South Bronx, New York.

“They fell into this condition, we don’t know why and how but they’re people first,” stated Rogers.

Before the pandemic, Rogers coined the phrase hope walks where he would go out three times a week to feed the homeless. “When the pandemic hit [no one was] out on the street. It [was] a ghost town.” Last year Rogers and his family responded by raising money for a pandemic take out version of the Thanksgiving dinner.

Photo credit: Any Lane on Pexels

Perspective

But not everyone shares the viewpoint of Rogers. Despite the spotlight COVID-19 shined on economic disparities there are still many who are yet desensitized to the struggle of the poor.

“The rich get richer and the poor and middle class get poorer! Every time we receive “stimulus checks” the price of essential commodities rises. Bamboozled again!,” said twitter user SavantSKD.

Indeed, the quagmire is real. Career advancement coach of the Door Bronx Youth Center and host of Curious Success podcast, Rasheem Palmer, told Ark Republic, “The less fortunate have a certain compassion for those who have struggles similar to theirs and when they are able to overcome their personal challenges they pay it forward as well as form communities.”

Veritably, there is something to be said about the altruism of the less fortunate. For years, surveys have shown that upper-income Americans are particularly mediocre as givers when compared with the poor. Lower-income Americans give proportionally more of their incomes to charity than do upper-income Americans.

“Sometimes they are not able to overcome their challenges . . . but they recognize the adversity and may feel compelled to help someone ease their burdens,” Palmer continued.

Because their issues resonate more deeply, the poor will give to neighbors suffering from the same problems they are struggling with or to the causes closer to home. On the other hand, the rich find it easier to donate to cultural institutions that they and their friends patronize, as well as, colleges and universities they attended.

“The psychological effects of group process will intensify our social ills and make it more difficult for us to function politically as a whole,” said psychoanalyst and consultant Ken Eisold, Ph.D.

Undoubtedly, the frustration between the two classes is evident. Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) said in a tweet. “Maybe, just maybe, instead of giving bored billionaires money to zoom around outer space, we could finally end the international embarrassment of being the only major country on the planet not to guarantee paid family and medical leave to its people. How about that?”

Now that the COVID-19 cases have dwindled down to 165,897 and 3,967 deaths, rich, poor and middle class people can now agree on one thing. They are all appreciative of the looser CDC guidelines for holiday gatherings this year.

In brief, the CDC recommends protecting young children by getting vaccinated, wearing well fitted masks and avoiding crowded, poorly ventilated spaces. To that end, many are grateful to eat with their loved ones this year.

Journalist established in 2001, inspired by transformative leads.

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