Opinion

So much in Dallas to be thankful for

Thanksgiving toasts from the Dallas Morning News Editorial Board.

Each Thanksgiving, we spend a little time thinking of those people, some no longer with us, who have had important impacts on our community. We are grateful to them, and to each we offer a toast.

To all who have persevered through the pandemic, from first responders, to flight attendants, to restaurant workers, to grocery clerks and countless others whose dedication and professionalism were beacons of hope. Among these are people who worked long hours to raise families and provided essential services, even if some of us failed to show them respect. We celebrate their fortitude and tenacity.

To parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and all family members who have been vaccinated and have taken the precautions that will allow them to reunite safely on Thanksgiving Day. And save a turkey leg for us.

To civil rights icon Opal Lee, who served this year as grand marshal of Fort Worth’s annual Parade of Lights, a special local honor in the year that her lifetime of advocacy led to the recognition of Juneteenth as a federal holiday.

We toast the school librarians, who manage fulsome offerings for hundreds of kids on too-small budgets with patience and cheer. And especially to the librarian who gets a twinkle in the eye when a curious kid shows up, and takes joy in guiding a child to just the right books that unlock a world of wonder for that unique young person.

To the late Karen Blumenthal, a former Dallas Morning News business editor, Wall Street Journal Dallas bureau chief and author whose tireless passion and advocacy for public libraries led to a larger, modern Forest Green library in Lake Highlands. Our city will be better for her service.

To Vincent Van Gogh, who long ago invaded the American decorating aesthetic, and this year conquered our stadiums and event spaces. Two popular immersive experiences offering projected images of the Dutch painter’s work landed in Dallas this year, then came the Dallas Museum of Art with an exhibit of actual paintings. So cheers, Vincent, if you are looking down, free from your troubled life in obscurity, transformed into a legacy of ubiquity. To quote Don McLean: “They would not listen, they did not know how, Perhaps they’ll listen now.”

To Kevin Sloan for an architectural vision of homes and neighborhoods as jewels in the crown of the Trinity River, what he considered a beautiful waterway that could tie DFW together as it wanders between Dallas, Fort Worth and beyond. His work bringing nature to urban Dallas parks and developments earned him a park named in his honor this year. Sloan died in November; may his love for the Trinity River continue to flow through our city.

To Jennifer Han, a fourth-grade teacher from McAllen ISD and Ramon Benavides, a biology teacher from Ysleta ISD for teaching excellence. Han is the Texas Elementary Teacher of the Year and Benavides, the Texas Secondary Teacher of the Year. Benavides also was chosen to represent Texas in the National Teacher of the Year competition.

To Dr. Philip Huang, head of Dallas County Health and Human Services, and other public health officials across the country for coordinating the COVID-19 vaccine rollout and for repeatedly stepping up to the microphone to answer questions from politicians and the public. Charlatans and opportunists have placed science under attack, but know that your dedication is saving lives.

We toast community organizer Leslie Armijo, who spearheaded COVID-19 vaccine registration campaigns in her Oak Cliff neighborhood and other underserved parts of Dallas as local government officials squabbled over emergency powers. She worked with city and county leaders, enlisted volunteers and block-walked neighborhoods to hand out fliers and invite people to the registration drives. Her efforts reached older residents and others for whom a personal touch made all the difference.

To Sherri Mixon, executive director of T.R. Hoover Community Development Corp. for her indefatigable efforts to get South Dallas-area residents vaccinated. She cut through the bureaucracy and used her organization’s food pantry line to get neighbors and their relatives registered for vaccine appointments at Fair Park. Her group also helped older residents use computers and tablets to access information about COVID-19 online. That worked helped distribute the vaccine more equitably.

To all community health workers who stood in storm relief lines, schools, senior homes and other gathering places to dispel vaccine myths and gently encourage reluctant Texans to get the shots. Thank you for staying on message and staying kind.

To Heroes for Children and other organizations that advocate for and provide financial and social assistance to families with children battling cancer. Caring for a child with cancer is heartbreaking and parents should not have to carry this burden alone.

To our newsroom colleagues at The Dallas Morning News, who work hard seven days a week to inform our readers about life in our communities, from the good to the bad, from the worrisome to the hopeful, and from the sad to the joyful.

And to you, our readers, who are the reason for this work. We could not do it without you. We wish you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving.

Dallas Morning News Editorial. Dallas Morning News editorials are written by the paper's Editorial Board and serve as the voice and view of the paper. The board considers a broad range of topics and is overseen by the Editorial Page Editor.

editorialboard@dallasnews.com @dmnopinion
Perspective

Get smart opinions

Editorial and commentary from op-ed columnists, the editorial board and contributing writers from The Dallas Morning News, delivered three days a week.

By signing up you agree to our privacy policy