Credit: Suzette Brooks Masters, looking up outside Montgomery AL right before lockdown.

20 Reasons to be Thankful in 2020 (Yes, thankful)

I won’t lie. It’s hard to make a list of things to be grateful for with a pandemic raging, our democracy on the brink, deep divisions in our country, and an economy in distress. But I’ve spent so much time fretting in 2020 that I feel the need to practice gratitude.

Here goes.

1. I am thankful to be alive and healthy.

2. I am thankful for a loving family that is not riven by conflict and for its newest member, Koda the Pomsky.

3. I am thankful for my partner who keeps me sane, listens to me rant and is always there to share the burdens and make me laugh.

4. I am thankful that my mother and paternal grandparents took a chance on America and immigrated here, and for all the immigrants that have come before and will continue to come to America because they believe it will be worth it.

5. I am thankful for my fellow Americans standing up to a wannabe dictator and taking back our democracy — all 80 million of us. It took ALL of us.

6. I am thankful for election officials, poll workers, poll observers, canvassers and defenders of democracy, and for all the politicians willing to serve.

7. I am thankful for friends who shortly after Trump’s election helped educate me about the weaknesses of our democracy and how to respond effectively, with analysis, discipline and focus.

8. I am thankful for activists and non-profit leaders who fight for our rights and liberties every day, under intense pressure, because they believe deeply in America’s promise and the need to protect the vulnerable.

9. I am thankful for Swing Left, Vote Forward and People’s Action who over the last few years channeled my angst about Trump and the 2018 and 2020 elections into productive hours fighting for a better future.

10. I am thankful to be part of a community of thinkers, doers and donors who defend our democracy and are willing to work across ideologies to see our common humanity and build our social and civic bonds.

11. I am thankful to have meaningful work to do that gives me purpose, with colleagues I respect and admire.

12. I am thankful for friends who ask me how I am doing and continue to inspire and support me.

13. I am thankful for journalists who keep me abreast of what’s happening and call out the real dangers that threaten us.

14. I am thankful for technology that keeps me connected during the pandemic.

15. I am thankful for scientists working at breakneck speed to protect us against the pandemic.

16. I am thankful for the essential workers who keep our healthcare system functioning and our grocery stores stocked, and who maintain our food supply.

17. I am thankful for postal workers and those who transport goods and people.

18. I am thankful for four seasons that enliven and mark the passage of time when life has become monotonic and flat.

19. I am thankful for land preserved for hiking and enjoyment and for the donors and stewards of those properties.

20. I am thankful for artists who create beauty in the world and for the institutions that make their works available to provide solace and inspiration.

Phew, and I probably can think of several more things I’m grateful for.

Here’s to better times ahead!



Let’s reimagine + strengthen our pluralistic democracy, make it truly inclusive + ensure it leaves nobody behind. I want to imagine better futures ahead!

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Suzette Brooks Masters

Let’s reimagine + strengthen our pluralistic democracy, make it truly inclusive + ensure it leaves nobody behind. I want to imagine better futures ahead!