When the holiday season approaches I feel very fortunate to be in this country where people are so kind and generous. I see common people going out of their way to accommodate in their schedules and budgets the ones less fortunate.

On the other hand, I also feel very discouraged to see once more how the commercial media plays with those good will feelings. The ads everywhere invite you to spend and spend. The reasons for the spending are plenty.

- The economy is good (or bad), no matter what, if you spend other people will be better.

- The threats of terrorism will blow away if you spend because that will show them that we are not frightened. (Or do we show them that we continue to live in luxury not understanding their complaints?)

- The holiday season is a time of giving, therefore work more to buy more to make other people happy. (It does not matter if you over spend, after all credit is there to keep you enslaved for as many years as you care to live to pay.)

- After taking care of our own people, we should spend a little something on others. (It could be even $10 to adopt a family, sponsor a child, or give a meal to the poor on Thanksgiving or Christmas)

Nevertheless, the people in need are not going to be relieved of their problems with a Thanksgiving or Christmas basket. Even if you pay somebody’s heating bill, that is not going to be enough.

Then, What is the right thing to do?

I can only say once more that United States has the most beautiful, generous and kind people, but if the people do not change the systems that impoverish others, charity can not take care of peoples lives forever.

A person needs to keep his/her dignity by being able to feel like a useful member of society. They need employment, housing, education and health care in their own right. A person needs to feel that his/her voice is as valid as the voice of a wealthy person.

Individuals need to feel that they really matter, not as statistics, or a project, but as persons of value because we have all been created equal.

During the holidays I encourage employers to think deeply about where their revenues come from and instead of a self-serving holiday party, they could pay a fair salary to their employees. The workers are not asking for handouts. The workers want more time to spend with their families and be able to enjoy some of the benefits that nowadays arrive mostly on the owner’s table.

People have needs 365 days a year, not just on the holidays. Giving a nice gift once a year does not compensate for the many things they do without. It calms the conscience of the giver but it doesn’t change the situation of the receiver.

I am grateful to God, that I am able to talk about things like these before the holidays. I am glad that many people here are not feeling the hunger, despair, and fear that people are feeling in other countries that suffer so much violence, and even war.

I am also grateful that God is giving us the opportunity to hear the voices of many coming as documented and undocumented workers from many countries telling us of how their way of life has been affected by our way of life.

I am grateful to God that he continues to give us opportunity to change our ways. Happy Thanksgiving to you all!