Thanksgiving 2020. With all the chaos and heartbreak that defines this year, I’ll bet you this –America’s Tables will look and feel a lot different. In the midst of turkey and all the trimmings, there will likely be talk of COVID tests and Zoom meetings. Virtual school and mask wearing. And the giant elephant in the room — the Presidential election. That one may very well make your well thought-out family and friends “COVID bubble” burst.
Here’s a question for us all: Can we set aside our deepening divisions even long enough to give thanks and enjoy Grandma’s pumpkin pie in peace?
What Makes Us American?
In my humble opinion, the answer is yes, if we choose to concentrate on what binds us together and makes us “unmistakably American”. The bottom line is, unless you are Indigenous, we, or our ancestors, came here from somewhere else. Some of us were brought here by force. Others chose America in search of a better life and a better future. “Our stories help define our unique self-identities, and yet we share experiences and perspectives that now make us unmistakably American.”
I love that quote from my friend, Tali Blumrosen. Tali and I are Co-Chairs of “America’s Table”, an hour-long TV special designed to celebrate our diversity, foster dialogue and reflect on the values and humanity that bridge our communities — Democracy, Freedom, Pluralism, Inclusiveness, Civility, Equality, Unity and Love. What better time to do this than the post-election, Thanksgiving season, and what better place than Houston, Texas, the most diverse city in the nation?
The American Jewish Committee (AJC) came up with the concept of “America’s Table” in the aftermath of 9-11. Back then, AJC invited Americans to grieve the lives lost during the terrorist attacks on our nation, while also celebrating our unity in diversity as a nation created by immigrants of all faiths. Nineteen years later, we grieve once again, this time for the quarter of a million American lives lost at the hands of COVID. But that’s not all 2020 has brought us. There is rising racism and bigotry. There is polarization and fear. And there’s that ever-widening political divide. Now, as they did back then, AJC invites us to express empathy with our fellow Americans who are mourning a myriad of losses, while at the same time, celebrating what unites us. AJC also invites you to join the Community of Conscience.
Watch on KPRC-TV, Saturday, November 28th
We hope you and your families will tune into KPRC-TV on November 28th, the Saturday after Thanksgiving, at 8pm central time for the America’s Table broadcast. If you are not in the Houston area, you can watch the livestream on click2houston.com. We will share immigrant stories that inspire, celebrate our cultural roots and hopefully, entice you to cut each other some slack. We all basically want the same thing. We all love our country. It’s time that we figure out how to love each other.