"Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude." — Ralph Waldo Emerson
Modern Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays because the only way to celebrate is simply by sharing a meal with people you care about. One day of the year we come together with loved ones near and far to eat, reconnect, create warm memories, and honor the good fortune that can bring us to the same table. This year, my immediate family and I are keeping to our own households, out of that same love. It's a bittersweet feeling because while I miss family and friends across 400 miles, I'm overwhelmed with gratitude because various struggles this year brought some of us much closer in profound ways. Most importantly, we're alive and well, and preserving that precious gift matters more than a turkey dinner ever could.
While at home, I'll be wistfully watching and celebrating all the Broadway cast performances scheduled for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade broadcast. Pre-taped numbers filmed at their respective theatres include songs from Hamilton, Mean Girls, Jagged Little Pill, and Ain't Too Proud - The Life and Times of the Temptations. Can't wait!
However you are marking Thanksgiving this year, I hope you will do safely. For six months I've also been working with the New York City Test + Trace Corps, and it's my hope that none of my colleagues will need to call your number after the holidays - or ever. However, if someone from your jurisdiction's test and trace team does call, please consider it your civic duty to answer the phone and hear what the person on the other end has to say. Isolating and quarantining are voluntary activities, and none of us can force you to do anything. When we call, we educate the public about many things including emergency warning signs for adults and the extra symptoms only for children and how to access resources one might need if staying home is a hardship. For example, we offer a free provider hotline through New York Health + Hospitals, so if someone doesn't have a doctor or can't reach their doctor, they have access to a medical professional to answer their questions. We let people know about the Paid Family Leave Act and how they may be eligible for job protection, financial compensation, and a letter for their employer explaining they can't go to work because they're being asked to stay home. We give numbers for free, confidential assistance with mental health and domestic abuse. New York City has free hotel rooms for those who are eligible and can't safely isolate or quarantine at home. We impart a LOT of vital information when we make our calls, and I'm so proud I've played a part in keeping New York State at (currently) the fourth lowest rate of infection of U.S. states behind only Vermont, Maine, and Hawaii - all less populated than New York. Looking to the weeks ahead, I hope we can all keep our numbers down!
If you or someone you know is a NYC resident and would like to join the Test + Trace Corps, visit this site for information and to apply for these *new* job openings! https://bachrachgroup.com/covid-19-jobs/ Please spread the word! You'll find it's an honor to be part of this effort, and I'm constantly amazed by the spirit, cooperation, understanding, and fortitude of New Yorkers. This is an incredible city not just because of Broadway, Central Park, our museums, architecture, dining, nightlife, etc. What makes it uniquely, undeniably great are New Yorkers themselves, and we'll still be here to welcome our tourists back again - soon!
Until then, please follow public safety guidance, protect yourself and your loved ones, and answer the phone if your local test and trace corps gives you a call. We're here to make sure next year you can spend the holidays with people you love - and plan for those post-vaccine trips together too!
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