You may not believe in Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy may be a stretch for you and maybe you even hold the heretical view that the Great Pumpkin never visits a pumpkin patch.  People can choose to believe or not believe in many things, but one thing we can all agree on is that it is nice to say “thanks” for the good people and good things in life.

It is in that spirit that I offer this DMV Thanksgiving list. There are indeed, many people and things to be thankful for as we near the end of 2011.  After you read this list – holla’ back.  Let me know which ones resonate with you and let me know what DMV people and things you’re saying “thanks” for this year.

I say thanks that instead of scraps with “the system” go-go now has someone that is “the system.” Derrick Leon Davis was recently elected to a seat on the Prince George’s County Council. 

“Boogie” played saxophone with Ayre Rayde and for a time with Experience Unlimited (EU).  If you’re in your late 30s to early 50s and grew up on go-go in the DMV then you’ll understand when I say “when you’re walking around town and you’re feeling down…what’s up like that!”  Here’s hoping that Derrick will bring a sensitivity and passion to the position that serves his constituents well.  Now if we can just get Sugar Bear to run for Mayor, Big G to run for Congress and Chuck Brown to run for President!

I say thanks for the sacrifice of Eva and Ana Martinez and their now deceased mother Eva Aurora that preserved 36 affordable rental units for low and moderate income residents at the St. Dennis apartments in the Mount Pleasant neighborhood of D.C.  Their determination to exercise their rights under District law ultimately led them to partner with the National Housing Trust/Enterprise to purchase the building.

Many long hours of pro-bono legal help offered by the law firm of Arnold and Porter provided critical support in the battle against unscrupulous practices by the former landlords.

Hearing Eva and Ana describe their nearly three year ordeal of being the only family left in the building while demolition was conducted and some utilities  were cut, all the while efforts were made to buy them out, neglect them out or intimidate them out is quite simply moving and inspirational. 

The newly renovated building re-opened in October with 35 families able to access sorely needed safe and affordable housing all because three women were willing to sacrifice for others and determined with God’s help to stand firm for justice and opportunities for people regardless of their incomes.  Thanks ladies.

I say thanks for any elected official in the DMV that has actually worked with the best interests of their constituents and the common good as their driving motivation all the while doing so with integrity. 

Thanks for all of those not driven by greed, ego and/or the simple desire to get re-elected. Thanks to those that have actually done their homework, listened to the people and thought critically about how to make good policy and make the government indeed be one “of the people, by the people and for the people.” 

Thanks to those elected officials in the DMV that did not steal money, take bribes, fail to pay their taxes or pass questionable laws because their lobbyist lawyer or big-money donor told them to do so.

Thanks to London Fletcher for still playing hard and with class for the Burgundy and Gold in the midst of another frustrating season.

Thanks to Jim Vance for still being the voice of local television news and a great emcee at local galas and banquets.  I have literally grown from childhood to adulthood getting the news from you Jim.

Thanks to WHUR-FM for creating and maintaining the Quiet Storm. While many “urban radio” stations have experimented with their line-ups – you created something timeless and have stuck with it.  Good music will always be in demand.

Thanks go Mrs. Virginia Ali for being such the wonderful matriarch of the Ben’s Chili Bowl and Ben’s Next Door Ali family. If you’re living right – you may just catch her one day at the Bowl. Her warmth and charm that have blessed U Street for over 50 years will bless you still.

Thanks to Step Afrika for being a home-grown international ambassador for the African-American art of stepping and intentionally educating people around the world about the art form and its links to African traditions.  An internationally recognized troupe based right here in D.C. and performing regularly at the Atlas on H Street N.E.

Well – I could do a Badu and go “on and on.” In the midst of the evil, chaos, corruption, craziness and sometimes plain ole’ drudgery of daily life – there really is so much for which to be thankful.  Have a blessed Thanksgiving season DMV.  Holla’ back and let me know what you’re thankful for these days.

More on The Root DC

D.C. Students explore Brazil

Thanksgiving recipes: Levita’s garlicky kale