In a Thankless Year, 20 Austinites We're Thankful for in 2020

We single out some locals who have given us hope

Illustration by Zeke Barbaro / Getty Images

This Thanksgiving just isn't the same.

Fewer faces around the table. Fewer hands to clasp. Fewer hugs. More worries about loved ones, about neighbors, about the future – our own, our country's.

The numerous trials of 2020 that have kept us apart for most of the year continue to do so and to weigh heavily on our hearts and minds: the coronavirus pandemic; record job losses and the economic strain felt by everyone; hurricanes and wildfires that have laid waste to the land; political strife that never ends; continued police killings of Black citizens; violence in the streets; heartbreaking deaths, from Chadwick Boseman to Eddie Van Halen, Kobe to RBG; and, oh yeah, murder hornets.

The year has thrown so much at us that we've taken to treating it like some malevolent force casting down one ordeal after another, a dark god seeing how much we can take. What's next, 2020?

In such a year, you may feel there's little to be thankful for. We get it.

And yet even in a year this tragic, there have been those among us who have sought to help. As conditions worsened and new challenges confronted us, they stepped up and did what they could to make things better. First responders, health care workers, teachers, voter registration volunteers, poll workers, mask makers, volunteers donating and distributing meals, H-E-B – so many have gone above and beyond the call of duty in 2020. We're grateful for all of you.

So in line with Thanksgiving, the editorial team at the Chronicle decided to call attention to some of these conscientious, generous citizens in our community and what they've done. Of course, we haven't the space to recognize everyone who has given selflessly of themselves during this trying time. The ones here are ones we've come across in our coverage of the city this year, ones we've seen make a difference. None of them worked alone, and by singling them out, we don't want to suggest that they did or that their colleagues are any less deserving of our thanks. Consider these representatives of a larger body, parts of a greater whole.

We call them our "20 in 2020," in part to push back against that dark lord who's been cursing us since January. They're lights in the year's darkness – and cause for giving thanks.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

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20 in 2020

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