1.  Freedom of the press
This Thanksgiving, while I’ll be grateful for the usual things like family, health and wellbeing, current events have prompted me to dig a little deeper in regards to things I am thankful for. Under the First Amendment of the Constitution, I have the right to voice my opinion in print without the fear of being censored by my government.

2. The 2016 presidential election
This election was a pivotal moment for our country because it revealed the truth of people. Whether individuals were bigots or tree-hugging, peace-keeping lovers of everything, where they stood when it came to human rights was made clear during this presidential election. I am thankful for this because it revealed where people stood in regards to their political beliefs and human rights, but also helped many people realize the importance of advocating for their beliefs in a public forum.

3. Bob Dylan winning the Nobel Prize in Literature
As a writer, I wanted to know more about Bob Dylan so that I could understand the importance he had on poetic expression and stretching the boundaries of literature. Then I heard a collection of his work on a CD I picked up from Ollie’s a few years back and really took the time to listen to the way he combined words to convey messages of peace and protest simultaneously. For me, Dylan winning the Nobel solidified the fact that artists are powerful and can ignite change while staying true to themselves.

4. Jeff Jeske
You may not know this guy. In my mind he is still my English professor at Guilford College, although he is technically on medical leave. I met him a couple years ago when I begged him to allow me to write for the college’s newspaper despite not having met the requirements to do so. I saw him a couple of weeks ago. When he hugged me I could feel the indentions of his spine through his shirt.  I didn’t want to let him go, but I also didn’t want to hold him too tight. I am grateful for Jeske because for some reason he continues to believe that I have this special gift. That, in turn, keeps me going when I want to give up. In today’s world, we all need a bit of encouragement to hold on to, and the world needs more Jeff Jeskes.