I know it’s a day late, but I spent yesterday traveling up to Philly to visit family (a six hour roundtrip) and wanted to make the most of the day while there. I therefore wanted to take some time today to say Happy Thanksgiving.
While there were many Virginia politicians who sent out Thanksgiving messages that talked about community and being with loved ones (Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, Sen. Tim Kaine, Del. John Bell, Del. Kaye Kory, Supervisor candidate Ken Boddye, and Delegate candidate Dan Helmer, just to name a few), I couldn’t help but notice Donald Trump claimed he was most thankful for — wait for it — himself.
I’m proud of some of the accomplishments I’ve made this year, but that’s definitely not what I’m most thankful for. Being able to play with my three and five year old nephews yesterday and meeting my first cousin, once removed (my cousin’s two week old baby son) provided a prime example of why I’m thankful. I have a family who’s been a fabulous source of support and the texts I received from friends yesterday reminded me of how lucky I am to have an amazing group of people surrounding me on a daily basis.
Fortunately, this won’t be just a one day reminder as we enter into the holiday season. I’m heading back up to Philly for a work related event (Americans for Democratic Action is holding its post-election summit up there) and I’ll get to celebrate Hanukkah with my aunt, uncle, and cousins. Of course, there’s also a slew of holiday parties that are already scheduled for the next month or so.
Spending time with friends and family over the next few weeks will be extremely important, but that doesn’t mean politics won’t be getting its proper attention as well. With Virginia’s General Assembly convening on January 9th, legislators are already preparing for session and I am too. I’ll be spending several weeks down in Richmond as the legislature is meeting and am already working with my organization’s members, leaders from other community groups, and members of the General Assembly from both parties to help identify priorities for session.
It looks like legislation preventing discrimination based upon sexual orientation and gender identity in public housing and employment will come up again this year. And ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment has also already received constant attention (including a bus tour by Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy and other community leaders). If the General Assembly were to support the ERA, Virginia would be the state to push it across the finish line by becoming the 38th state to ratify the amendment and add gender equality to the Constitution. These are just a few of the issues that are likely to come up this year.
What this all means is this will be a busy time of year as we combine spending time with family with doing what we can to improve the community.