Since we started this blog almost two decades ago, Laurie and I have always done a Thanksgiving good news post. This year, Laurie isn’t available (she’s fine) and I have a brand-new resource for good news. Earlier this year, my friend Lizzy turned me on to Jessica Craven, a dauntless and clever political activist who spends her weeks encouraging her subscribers to work for political change through her newsletter: Chop Wood, Carry Water. She also spends her weekends creating lists of good things that happened during the week to encourage and energize the work she promotes.
During the run-up to the midterms, she made those weekly good news posts, which she calls “Extra! Extra!” free to everyone. They aren’t archived separately from the daily feed of her newsletter (linked above), but you can find them all by scrolling down the link. As fits her interests, these are mostly US and mostly political, with a lot of climate news and a lot of racial and LGBT+ justice. I’ve cherrypicked a handful from through the year that I think are especially important, and leavened them with some international and other good news just for Laurie’s and my readers.
I’ll assume you know that the Democrats were not in disarray, that no election deniers were elected as Secretary of State anywhere, and that the November 8 midterms were full of good small and large wins, despite the barrage of negative news leading up to the election. (And my progressive friend George Syrop will be the youngest ever member of the Hayward, California City Council. I’m just sayin’)
This is the best year for labor since 2005 (which happens to be the year Laurie and I started Body Impolitic. Craven pointed us to the Amazon victory in April, which Amazon tried to block, but they lost, creating the first union inside Amazon. Meanwhile, Starbucks has thrown a huge amount of money and some high-end anti-labor lawyers at their problems, and still over 200 Starbucks’ stores have unionized this year. And the link at the top of this paragraph shows you just how well labor is doing overall.
The first California condors since 1892 (!) have been seen in the wild. They were raised in captivity and released in partnership with the Yurok Tribe. And that just makes me want to mention the Monarch butterfly resurgence. Also, Atlantic puffins.
And just this month, a clam previously known only from fossils (!) was discovered alive in California.
In one of my special areas of interest–wrongful convictions and the “justice” system, it’s exciting to note that a lead Innocence Project lawyer is now a federal district judge in New York. (And Adnan Syed, whose case first got me and millions of others interested in wrongful convictions, is a free man.)
Sometimes (not often enough!) land is returned to its rightful BIPOC owners. Black victory in Manhattan Beach, CA; indigenous victories in Virginia and California (and there are more.
In India, where cricket is an extremely popular sport, women cricketers will be paid the same amount as men.
60 U.S. high schools will be offering advance placement courses in African-American history. And the unbelievably offensive statue of Theodore Roosevelt outside the Museum of Natural History in New York City is gone–which would make this a good year all by itself.
Climate change victories are under-reported, and there are many small ones (as well as some bigger ones). Two that have caught my eye are 100,000 kg removed from the great plastic patch and the shrinking hole in the ozone layer.
There’s lots more. There are defeated fascists around the globe, including Javier Bolsonaro in Brazil, who is still contesting his loss. There are new LGBT+ people in Congress and the state houses and governors’ mansions. Abortion rights won wherever they were on the ballot–including Tennessee.
And images from the ground-breaking (space-breaking?) James Webb Space Telescope started being published in July. One lovely one is above, and there are hundreds more.
As Jessica Craven frequently says, what we focus on gets stronger. So while it’s important to keep one eye on all the threats and dangers (and there are so many!), we also thrive by knowing that those stories are not the whole story.
Happy Thanksgiving, however you observe it, and a happy day if you don’t. Me, I’ll be grateful to be eating with a few close friends, on stolen Ohlone land, which we will acknowledge before we begin the meal.
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