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Editorial Media

Giving Thanks in a Year of Turmoil

Jodi Jacobson

It's been a hard year for many of us, and I think we have harder times ahead. But it's time to be thankful for the many things that we have to celebrate.

It’s been a hard year for many of us. Nothing to sugarcoat there.

And I think we have harder times ahead as we work collectively to resist normalizing the hatred, lies, misogyny, and racism that were the core features of the recent presidential campaign and, as we’ve seen from recent political appointments, will be core features of the incoming administration.

But it’s time to be thankful for the many things that we have to celebrate. Here is my list. If I miss someone or something, please know it is inadvertent. I am thankful for so much and so many of you, I am sure to make a mistake.

I am so very thankful for the staff of Rewire. I say this often, but it truly is hard, unless you are in it every day, to know just how much work our staff does to publish evidence-based reporting on reproductive and sexual rights, health, and justice. We cover laws, policies, the courts, and the movements promoting justice. We work to hold corporate and mainstream media accountable. We publish news, investigative research, analyses, and commentary, and we now offer podcasts and video, all of which are produced by professional journalists. We have an editorial staff second to none: They are small but fierce, and make sure every single piece is edited, copy edited, fact-checked, and has the right images. We often hear from writers that they are the best editors around. I think that’s true. We’ve got fantastic tech, social media, and communications staff, and a financial staff that makes sure every penny goes where it is supposed to go. We’ve had stellar audits every year we’ve been in existence. We get compliments on our work from reporters around the world, from the New York Times to the Guardian to smaller sister outlets with which we work in collaboration. These are not small feats for a publication that is young and has a very small budget relative to the larger pool in which we swim. I can’t tell you how much of an honor it is to work with my colleagues every day. I am deeply thankful for them.

I am thankful for our board of directors, who have seen us grow from a staff of three in 2012 to a staff just shy of 30 as of this month. They’ve believed in us and supported our vision, and us individually. All of us at Rewire are thankful for our board.

I am of course deeply thankful for our foundation supporters. It isn’t always easy, I know, to support an effort that is outside the norm of what has been done for many years before. Our foundation supporters have understood the need for independent media and have been willing to invest in and support us as we move forward. We are incredibly grateful to all of you and your sustained support.

We are all also deeply thankful for the readers and supporters who have begun to more regularly invest in our work, whose individual donations are made as a demonstration of faith in our mission. Thank you so much.

Our reporting is not based on ideology, but on evidence. It is a fact that access to abortion care and contraception are public health imperatives, and that these services improve not only maternal health and survival but also the health and survival of infants and children. It is a fact that reproductive health care is an essential component of primary health care. It is a verifiable fact that racial justice is inextricably tied to the health and well-being of communities; that environmental sustainability is critical to the survival of all people; and that universal access to education from pre-K onward is foundational to a vibrant democracy and to the success of individuals and communities. These and many other issues we cover are based in the evidence provided by decades of public health, medical, social science, economic, and environmental research and analysis. We believe in evidence-based reporting and will continue to provide it.

But while we cover these issues, it is important to acknowledge our thanks to the many individuals, organizations, and coalitions who fight every day to ensure that laws, policies, and programs needed by the people of this country are based on evidence and facts, and that people, not corporations or political parties, are at the center of our focus. There are too many to name, and therefore this is by far an incomplete list, but this year I want to thank the following for their pursuit of justice. I want to thank the All* Above All Coalition, each member of which individually and collectively works to represent the needs of millions of people for abortion care. I want to thank groups like the National Network of Abortion Funds, Abortion Care Network, SisterSong, SisterReach, COLOR, New Voices, Reproaction, NARAL Pro-Choice America and all its affiliates, Planned Parenthood and all its affiliates, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, Advocates for Youth, National Advocates for Pregnant Women, Forward Together, Women With a Vision, National Asian Pacific American Women’s ForumGetEQUAL, Wisconsin Alliance for Women’s Health, Center for Reproductive Rights, Whole Women’s Health, and the many, many groups not otherwise named here who wake up every day to ensure that all people have access to care, can exercise their fundamental human rights, and have a voice in our political system. I want to thank the protectors at Standing Rock who are putting their very lives on the line to protect sacred grounds and sacred water supplies. I want to thank Race Forward, the Movement for Black Lives, Color of Change, CREDO, MoveOn, UltraViolet, Voto Latino, America’s Voice, MPower Change, Movement 2017, Working Families, the American Federation of Teachers, and the many other organizations not mentioned here who work to promote justice for all people of all racial groups, economic strata, and citizenship status. We see all of you. We appreciate all of you. And we thank all of you. Without you all of our lives would be poorer and our democracy in even greater danger.

I want to thank the Media Consortium and all its member organizations for their dedication to evidence-based journalism and their collaboration in all our efforts to fulfill journalists’ fundamental role: supporting democracy.

I want to especially thank the independent abortion providers, the clinic staff, the doctors, every one of the many people who go to work every day—despite the threats of violence, shaming, legal harassment, clinic harassment, individual harassment and direct harassment from those in power in many states—to provide every single individual who walks through their doors with excellent, compassionate care. We can’t thank you enough.

I want to thank the countless brave and dedicated clinic escorts who run the gauntlets of “protesters” to ensure all people who need care get through the doors.

I want to thank the many researchers whose work to understand and evaluate what science tells us about health, the environment, the economy, and politics informs our own work every day.

I want to thank the staff of the Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders campaigns, both of which were fighting hard to further and recognize the rights of the many and did so under duress.

And we are of course so thankful for our readers. We know that while time is limited and valuable, you nonetheless come to us and trust us for evidence-based reporting. We deeply, deeply value you and, while we provide what we hope is excellent journalism, we also depend on you to hold us accountable when we make mistakes.

There are so many, many people and organizations to thank, please forgive me if I’ve not mentioned you here. I am quite sure that I have forgotten someone, and for that I ask your forbearance. Know that you are appreciated and we thank you.

We will be working to hold the new administration accountable for their appointments, actions, statements, laws, policies, and regulations. Evidence-based policies should know no political party. Unfortunately, in the United States we have seen anti-science, anti-evidence laws and policies become the hallmark of a radical political movement, and we will work to provide evidence-based journalism to tell the truth of what is going on. And we will, of course, report the facts, when they are good and when they are bad.

It’s easy to write a letter now. Know, however, that we will not wait for Thanksgiving to say thank you. We will try to do so in many ways every day of the year.

Wishing all of you a wonderful, peaceful, joyful holiday. We have a lot of work to do going forward.

Sending all of you love, because the world needs much more of it.

Jodi