What I'm thankful for

Illustration: Sandy Stowe/Oxfam

Oxfam staff, musician friends, and Sisters on the Planet ambassadors share their appreciation for climate activists, vaccines, and more.

In many ways, the year 2021 tested us, as new COVID variants emerged, humanitarian emergencies cropped up in places such as Afghanistan, Ethiopia, and India,  and we saw the devastating effects of climate change.

But this year also brought us hope for a way forward. Those of us in the United States and other wealthy countries have been able to access free vaccines, reducing the number of COVID-related deaths and allowing many of us to resume some semblance of normal life. This time of physical distancing has given us all time to reflect on what we value the most and brought us renewed appreciation for everything we miss. And it has taught us to celebrate the things that bring us happiness.

For myself, I found a silver lining in working from home. While remote work is not without its frustrations and limitations, I am grateful that it allowed me to move back to the Midwest, so I could be closer to my family. In this spirit of reflection, I asked members of the Oxfam community, from staff to ambassadors, to share what they are thankful for.

Words of gratitude from the Oxfam community

Lake Street Dive, music artists

“We’re thankful for the scientists who help us to understand how to put on shows safely during a pandemic and how to lower carbon alternatives and possibilities for a safer future.”

The World Climate March in Glasgow coincided with the UN Climate Change Conference in November 2021 and brought the voices of thousands of activists, particularly the most affected people and areas, to the streets. Credit: Andy Aitchison/Oxfam

Katharine Hayhoe, climate scientist, author of Saving Us: A Climate Scientist's Case for Hope and Healing in a Divided World, and an Oxfam Sisters on the Planet Ambassador

“I am so thankful for every person I hear from who wants to make a difference. People who are worried, but they don't know where to start. People who have already started and want to share with me what they're doing. People are doing amazing things. There are people who are artists, there are people who are moms, people who are kids. There is such joy and such hope in knowing we are not alone. So when we act, when we add our hand to that boulder, when we look around and see who else is acting too, that is where we find hope. And how can you not be thankful for that?”

Read our Q&A with Hayhoe.

Abby Maxman, Oxfam America President and CEO

“For the power of science that produced a vaccine to combat the coronavirus; for glass ceilings shattered and the countless women, civil rights, and social justice activists upon whose shoulders we all stand and who continue to strive tirelessly fighting for social, racial, climate, and gender justice; for my right to vote and organize; for nourishing food, nature, and physical and psychological safety; for the courage, kindness, and love of my husband, three children, and my dear mutt who challenge me in all good ways—assuring that I am ever-learning, humble, and reflect on who I am, what I believe, and how I show up in the world each day; and for the gift and privilege to lead Oxfam America and a group of the most passionate, committed professionals and people one could ever hope to work with.”

Abby Maxman speaking at a protest calling on the European Union to support a TRIPS waiver for COVID-19 vaccines in June 2021 Photo: Becky Davis/Oxfam

Liz Carty, Oxfam America Alliances and Strategic Partnerships Director

“I am thankful for my family, friends, and meaningful work at Oxfam America. I am also thankful for Oxfam's efforts to advocate for a ‘People's Vaccine.’ No one will be safe until everyone is safe.”

Courtney Hartman, singer/songwriter

"More than ever, I’m grateful for home and warmth. When I think of families who have been torn away from their homes it makes me ask: ‘What small change can we each make to begin opening our hearts and doors more widely to others?’" 

Watch Hartman's music video for "Bright at My Back," featuring her grandmother, Betty.

Bob Ferguson, Oxfam America Creative Alliances & Music Outreach Project Manager

“I'm thankful for communities working together to keep each other safe at public events, so we can all enjoy the arts as a group again.”

Michal Zahler, Oxfam America Development Projects Specialist

“I'm thankful for youth activists, who are pushing our leaders to make substantial commitments to tackle climate change.”

Oxfam is also thankful for you, our community of supporters and activists, and all that we can accomplish together. Not a part of our e-community yet? Join us.

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