Regardless of the manner that you are celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday this year, we hope you are giving thanks. It might seem counterintuitive, impossible, or an especially arduous task to be grateful this year, but here, at Downstage Arts, we believe that gratitude leads to inspiration.
While we need to rise against oppression, pain, and suffering, we must make space for the good—whether that is celebrating our hard work, the homemade (or boxed) stuffing at our Thanksgiving table, applauding the voter turnout our nation exercised earlier this month, our furry friends, etc.! And, we can’t forget the individuals who bring joy to our lives: our families, our friends, and our chosen communities! They are the ones who help us through the individual and collective adversities we face.
DSA is thankful for our enthusiastic Board of Directors, Katrina Dion (our superb Fundraising Consultant and Grant Writer), and Teen Cohort instructors! We are fortunate to have a community of humans who believe in change that lifts up those who have been unjustifiably marginalized—and, if we haven’t made it clear enough, we are thankful for our students! The passion and drive they have for the performing arts warms our hearts. Also, we are thankful for YOU, our readers and supporters! Our nonprofit is certainly not the same without people who give, whether that is volunteering time or donations—of any size!
Our country’s Thanksgiving traditions started off in celebrations of irrefutably evil acts. The Puritan colonizers either slaughtered or enslaved thousands of Pequot natives, and the repercussions of those atrocities are still felt to this day. Indeed, many far-right extremist groups continue committing similarly abominable acts today. While many of us celebrate Thanksgiving with turkey, Native Americans (and supporters) gather for a National Day of Mourning to commemorate their ancestors and protest the unceasing racial injustices they experience. While we are unable to turn the clocks back and change our country’s shameful past, we can—we must!—transform our Thanksgivings into celebrations that inspire love and gratitude for ALL.
Sure, gathering together and sharing what you’re thankful for as you pass the pie may feel like harmless fun. It has certainly been the custom in my family. Still, DSA encourages you to love openly and generously and give back to those who have been horribly mistreated in our country. How will you give love and gratitude that extends past your community? Here are a few simple suggestions: if you haven’t already, take time to relearn the history of Thanksgiving, give a moment of silence for Native Americans at your Thanksgiving table, and take part in the National Day of Mourning at Plymouth, Massachusetts, via livestream (assuming most of our readers do not reside in Massachusetts)! Watch 12pm EST livestream here, and read more about the National Day of Mourning.
There is a light at the end of the tunnel, friends. We need to keep working toward it, wearing our masks, continuing our journey as we create a better future for all people, sending love, and giving thanks to our community and beyond. Give thanks, send love, and stand up for others. DSA wishes you a wonderful and thoughtful holiday weekend!