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Gratitude: Returning to Each Other

Gratitude: Returning to Each Other

By Vignetta Charles, PhD | November 16, 2018


return to each


in waves.


is how



—nayyirah waheed

This poem (by one of my favorite poets—check her out if you don’t know her) has been running through my head as we enter the holiday season. I have been overwhelmed with gratitude as I bear witness to people returning to each other, whether it’s mobilizing for those devastated in the California wildfires and supporting the firefighters still in harm’s way, or the continued global response to the #metoo movement. I am hopeful because I believe we can find peace when we find authentic connection and express our gratitude for that.

Gratitude is pervasive at ETR. We feel connection with one another and the fields in which we work. Whether it’s the opportunity to connect our families to our work, or being thankful for what we learn from our feather and fur family, gratitude seems to come naturally.

This team brings commitment, vision and creativity to our mission, and I am so appreciative of this. You can see some examples in this short video we've just released where we asked team members to reflect on our rebranding. Just a simple question about a blue dot spontaneously yielded thoughts on connection to mission, to work, and to the global community.


We are thankful for our community partners, who help us advance health equity across the U.S. We are grateful for the privilege of being able to disrupt thinking in fields in which we have worked for decades, because disruption pushes all of us to do better.

We return to each other honoring the vision of our early leaders, the history that built us. We return to each other in waves, supporting future generations to continue this work when we are gone.

Inspired by nayyirah’s words, I believe we love like water at ETR, and I’m thankful for it. May you also celebrate this season with the gratitude, connection and resilience of the waves. ETR wishes you a happy and healthy holiday. With gratitude.


Vignetta Charles, PhD, is Chief Executive Officer of ETR. She can be reached at

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