The Daily Illini

Editorial: Reasons to be thankful this year

After a grueling election season, unrest at the Dakota Access Pipeline and other protests, major earthquakes and tsunami threats in Japan and more, the widespread sadness and uncertainty can make it hard to remember the good in our world. So today, take care of yourself. Eat some pumpkin pie, reunite with friends and family, and enjoy that much-needed break from tests and papers. And if you need more encouragement (or Thanksgiving dinner conversation starters), here are five things happening in our world that everyone can be thankful for.

1. Ellen Degeneres receives Presidential Medal of Freedom

When awarding his final medals, President Barack Obama gave the hilarious talk-show host one for her courage in coming out to the public 20 years ago. The president got a bit choked up when explaining “Just how important it was not just for the LGBT community, but for all of us to see somebody so full of kindness and light — somebody we liked so much, somebody who could be our neighbor or colleague or our sister— challenge our own assumptions, remind us that we have more in common than we realize, push our country in the direction of justice.”

2. University students express what they’re thankful for

Sometimes you don’t have to look further than campus to find something uplifting. The Daily Illini’s videographer Katherine Hoffmann went around campus to ask how students are spending their Thanksgiving break, and what they are thankful for this season.

3. Selena Gomez raises mental health awareness

The star returned to the spotlight on Sunday at the American Music Awards after taking a break since August to focus on depression and anxiety problems that came from dealing with lupus. When accepting her award for Favorite Pop/Rock Female Artist, she used her acceptance speech as a platform for mental illness, admitting “And I had to stop, because I had it all together enough to where I would never let you down, but I kept it too much together to where I let myself down.” Kid Cudi has also confided in his fans on Facebook about his struggles with depression.

4. Breaking barriers in Congress

No matter how people feel about the results of the presidential election, everyone should be happy that there are now more women of color in Congress than ever. In January, there will be 38 women in the House and Senate, 35 of whom are Democrats and three of whom Republicans. Some notable elects include Cortez Masto from Nevada, who will be the first Latina senator, and Kamala Harris from California, who will be the first Indian American and second African American woman in the Senate, as well as the first black senator from California.

5. The Curse of the Billy Goat is over

The Chicago Cubs made history this month when the team won the World Series after a 108-year drought, reversing the speculated curse that followed the organization and its fans for decades. The Cubs defeated the Cleveland Indians in Game 7 of the series 8-7. Celebrations took place all over the city and even in Champaign. Show your family our photo gallery of the excited students or this video of the parade in Chicago.


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