We all complain from time to time, and I know I am especially guilty of it, but there are so many things I am grateful for in my life.
I am grateful to have a roof over my head, protecting me from the snow, when nearly 13,000 people in North Carolina do not have a home to call their own1.
I am grateful to have a fireplace I can turn on with the flick of a switch, a far cry from the 120,040 households in North Carolina who are unable to pay their heating bills2.
I am grateful to have a fully-stocked pantry and refrigerator, unlike the estimated 51,580 people in Durham County, N.C., who lack consistent access to nutritionally-adequate foods3.
I am grateful to be in a loving, stable relationship, unlike the 142 women murdered by their current or former partners at their workplace between 2003 and 20084 or the 453 black women killed by their partners in 20135.
I am grateful to have affordable, work-sponsored health insurance, when 10 million people are projected to lose their health insurance with the American Health Care Act (AHCA)6.
I am grateful to have weekends in which to relax and recover from a hectic week, when nearly 7.8 million Americans are juggling two or more jobs7.
I am grateful for medication that manages my mental health, unlike the estimated 180,842 Florida residents who suffer from untreated severe bipolar disorder8.
I am grateful for the freedom to speak my mind, the freedom to cast my ballot for whomever I choose, and the freedom to worship how I choose (or not at all).
But I shall not let that gratitude keep me complacent, for it is my duty as an American citizen, nay, a decent human being to speak up for those without voices, to bring awareness to trampled civil liberties, and to advocate for those unfairly (and falsely) maligned by those in power.
“When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.” — Marcus Aurelius
- “Hate Crimes Against the Homeless: America’s Growing Epidemic of Violence”. 2017. National Coalition for the Homeless. Accessed March 12. http://www.nationalhomeless.org/factsheets/hatecrimes_factsheets/northcarolina.html.
- LIHEAP Report to Congress for Fiscal Year 2014. 2014. Ebook. 1st ed. Washington, D.C.: Administration for Children & Families. https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/ocs/fy14_liheap_rtc_final.pdf.
- “Map the Meal Gap”. 2017. Feeding America. Accessed March 12. http://map.feedingamerica.org/county/2014/overall/north-carolina/county/durham.
- Tiesman, Hope M., Kelly K. Gurka, Srinivas Konda, Jeffrey H. Coben, and Harlan E. Amandus. 2012. “Workplace Homicides Among U.S. Women: The Role of Intimate Partner Violence”. Annals of Epidemiology 22 (4): 277-284. doi:10.1016/j.annepidem.2012.02.009.
- When Men Murder Women | An Analysis of 2013 Homicide Data. 2015. Ebook. 1st ed. Washington, D.C. http://www.vpc.org/studies/wmmw2015.pdf.
- Bryan, Bob. 2017. “6-10 Million People Could Lose Their Health Insurance Under GOP’s Obamacare-Replacement Plan”. Business Insider. http://www.businessinsider.com/how-many-people-will-lose-insurance-if-obamacare-repealed-2017-3.
- Davidson, Paul. 2016. “The Job Juggle is Real. Many Americans are Balancing Two, Even Three Gigs”. USA TODAY. http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2016/10/17/job-juggle-real-many-americans-balancing-two-even-three-gigs/92072068/.
- Prevalence of Untreated Serious Mental Illness by State. 2017. Ebook. 1st ed. Accessed March 12. http://www.treatmentadvocacycenter.org/storage/documents/smi-prevalence-chart.pdf.