Thanksgiving and Diversity

Given the current political climate, Thanksgiving is more important than ever. The holiday is often seen as a time in our history that represents gathering and inclusion. In fact, most children learn about how Pilgrims and Native Americans put aside their differences and joined forces to prepare and enjoy a meal together. As we grow older, however, more questions arise. Was this holiday founded on inclusion or exclusion?  

No matter your thoughts on the holiday, we can all agree that it is a time to look back at what we are thankful for. It is a time to reflect on what we have in our lives rather than focusing on what we do not have. It would be easy to look at 2016 and think about the many setbacks that occurred, but it’s important to realize that 2016 brought a lot of amazing firsts as well.

Here is a list of just a few events and accomplishments to be thankful for this Thanksgiving:

  1. Oregon elected the United States first openly LGBTQ governor.  
  2. Black women are now the most educated group in America.
  3. The USA Paralympics team took home 115 medals which is the highest won by the country this century.
  4. Disney has promised an all-Asian cast for their live action Mulan movie.
  5. Companies like Sodexo are breaking down stereotypes about people with disabilities.
  6. Peggy Whitson will be the first woman to command the ISS…twice!
  7. The Chicago Cubs played (and won) in their first World Series since Jackie Robinson broke the Major League Baseball color line in 1947.
  8. Kamala Harris was elected into the US Senate and will be the second black woman to serve in the Senate, the first black senator from California, and Indian American U.S. senator.
  9. Speaking of election night, the next US Senate will have the most Asian-American Women in it than ever before.
  10. Top businesses like Microsoft will begin to tie executive bonuses to diversity hiring goals.