Suzanne P. Clark Suzanne P. Clark
President and CEO, U.S. Chamber of Commerce


November 24, 2020


As an avid fan of Irish literature, I am drawn to the Gaelic expression of thanks, go raibh maith agat, which translates literally to “may you have goodness.”

This year, despite suffering and loss, we have had goodness.

We’ve seen it in the dedication of frontline businesses and workers who have produced and delivered our food, stocked our grocery store shelves, taught our children, cared for the sick and the elderly, and kept our lights on and our networks running. Because of their selfless and ceaseless work, daily life has continued through the ups and downs of the pandemic.

There’s been goodness in the resilience and adaptability of America’s small businesses. Against tremendous odds and uncertainty, they have scrapped and innovated like never before to keep serving their communities, keep people on payrolls, and keep their own dreams alive.

It has been evident in the quick action of businesses of all sizes who shifted or accelerated production on a dime to help deliver the PPE and supplies needed to keep people safe and keep businesses open. Or those who innovated to make remote work, commerce, learning, and healthcare widely available.

Together, we’ve cheered new marvels and milestones in science and the brilliant minds behind them. An historic race for vaccines that hold greater promise than anyone dared to hope for—with the finish line in sight. The thrill of watching NASA astronauts return to space on the first private spacecraft, fueled by American ingenuity and built by American scientists and engineers.

And out of the tragedies of lost Black lives, this year we have seen people and institutions from across our society rally around the cause of justice and bring new urgency to a nationwide pursuit of equality of opportunity.

In so many ways, goodness has illuminated an otherwise dark period.

These good things, however, may feel elusive for those who are still out of work, who are struggling in isolation, who face eviction, who may not know where their next meal will come from, let alone a Thanksgiving feast. So, this holiday season, it’s up to all of us who are able to extend the goodness and generosity to those who need it.

We can support the small businesses and restaurants in our communities and neighborhoods that are struggling to make it through. We can give our time or our money to organizations best able to help those with urgent and immediate needs, like So Others Might Eat. We can offer encouragement, advice, mentoring, or networks to those who are out of a job. We can take personal steps to slow the spread of the virus so our nation can emerge from the pandemic and begin to recover.

Businesses and people alike who do well can also do a lot of good. And this year, more than any other in recent memory, we must.

It may be some time before we look back on 2020 and think first of the goodness, rather than the loss or the suffering. But this Thanksgiving Day is a wonderful opportunity to begin to dwell on the tremendous blessings that have risen up out of this challenging year. Those blessings, along with the trials, can make us stronger, more resilient, and more hopeful heading into the new year.

About the authors

Suzanne P. Clark

Suzanne P. Clark

As President and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Suzanne Clark heads strategy, government relations and market innovation to support member companies and businesses.

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