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Editor’s note: We asked several honorees of this year’s The Root 100 to share the things they are most thankful for this holiday season. Here’s what they had to say.

Feminista Jones, Writer, Blogger, Activist

I am thankful for the opportunities I have had to make connections with other people who want to make the world a better place. None of the work we do can be done alone, so it has been incredibly important for me to connect and build with like-minded people.

I am thankful for those who care about others and those who think beyond themselves.

I am thankful for those who take the time to give to those in need and to help those who seek it.

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I am thankful for having the platform to share my ideas and inspire others to work harder, give more and be better.

I am most thankful for my health, my son, my partner and for all of those who continue to support me and my work.

Rashad Robinson, Executive Director, ColorOfChange.org

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From the tragic deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner to a Republican landslide at the midterms, 2014 has been a difficult year for all of us. But through it all, a young, energized, committed community of forward-thinking activists and organizations have taken shape more vividly than ever before. A new generation has emerged, determined to seize real justice for black people, both on the streets of America and on a free and open Internet. The future has never looked so bright, and for that I am truly thankful.

Jamilah Lemieux, Senior Editor at Ebony.com

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I am truly thankful that The Root saw fit to acknowledge my work. In an era where many of us would rather shy away from difficult subjects like race and gender, I do not feel I would be of any value in my field or to my community if I wasn’t willing to take on the stories that matter in a meaningful way.

I have no sugar with which to coat the death of Michael Brown, the continued abuse and neglect of black women and girls, and the consistent media assault on the black body. Furthermore, black women writers are not always celebrated for taking on these topics in the way that black male and white female writers are. I don’t do this work for accolades, but I am very appreciative of them when they come. 

As a particularly difficult year comes to a close, I am also grateful to have had a platform to talk about these issues, and look forward to doing the same in 2015. 

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Peniel E. Joseph, Professor, Writer

I am thankful for the opportunities presented this year to advocate for racial and economic justice for the African-American community. As a contributing editor for The Root, I’ve been fortunate to work with an extraordinarily talented group of journalists writing cutting-edge articles on issues related to the black community. I’m grateful for my close group of friends and family that continue to support my work, and the larger community of social-justice activists, scholars and intellectuals who make my work possible. 

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Lena Waithe, Writer, Producer

Here are a few things I’m thankful for:

1. I am thankful for all the great writers I mentor. They’re all wide-eyed and bushy tailed and can’t wait to make their mark. They remind me why I got into this crazy business in the first place. They inspire me every day. 

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2. I am thankful for my amazing girlfriend. She stands in my corner, calls me on my s—t and loves me unconditionally. It doesn’t matter how many deals I make … I know that convincing her to fall in love with me will always be my greatest accomplishment. 

3. I am thankful for being a The Root 100 honoree. It’s one thing to be honored by others, but to be honored by your own people is God’s own favor. And also being on the same list as Beyoncé is a nice way to round out the year. 

Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Baltimore Mayor

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I am most grateful for my family and friends—without them, I would be unable to manage my daily roles as wife, mother and mayor. On a daily basis, they surround me with unconditional love and support and lift my spirits when I need it most. They inspire me to repay the love that has been showered upon me, which gives me the strength to fight for the most vulnerable residents of Baltimore each and every day.

I am also thankful to have maintained good health for another year. As the mother of a beautiful young daughter, I am focused on living a long, healthy life. So I never take for granted another year of optimal health.

Attica Locke, Novelist, Screenwriter

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I actually waited as long as I could to create this list because I was seriously holding out hope for an indictment in Ferguson, Mo. That being said, I am thankful for the following:

1. My family.

2. A new book coming in 2015.

3. The launch of Empire, the Fox drama I’m proud to be a part of.

4. The grace, optimism and courage of human rights activists the world over.