On November 23, United States is celebrating Thanksgiving Day, and one could say that there is much to be thankful for.
I appreciate the fact of having a special day to celebrate and thank God. I also appreciate that is not a commercial day that involves a lot of buying and spending, on the contrary is oriented to sharing the table and being together. Lately though commercialization links the day to the ‘Black Friday’ activity of super sales. So, instead of having a relaxing time to enjoy with others, people are hurrying to stand in line to get the ‘deals’.
Nevertheless, I was thankful for the community I live in that attended a rally on a very rainy and cold Saturday and manifested their rejection to the presence of an inhuman detention system in our midst. As the years go by more and more people are acknowledging the fact that immigrants are part of the ‘local family’, because they work, study and in general live alongside everyone else in this area.
Immigrants have earned their place here by means of their hard work and civic participation at all levels. Also they are parents of many children born in United States who have the right to a life without fear and with the same opportunities as millions of others who arrived in this territory before them, also foreigners at the time and on a land that had been taken away from the rightful owners.
For indigenous people, Thanksgiving Day is a day of mourning since it recalls how they received the stranger and shared the best of what they had only to be betrayed, persecuted, and killed at the hands of those who had benefited from their kindness.
In the same order, immigrants may be grateful to a country that has opened the door for them, even though the door in most cases has been only half open, to allow them to work, but always looking over their shoulder, and not been fully accepted, specially depending on the color of their skin. What people would rather ignore is the fact that the continuous flow of immigrants from other lands corresponds to the role of United States in the economical and political affairs of many countries. For example, Central America, where dictators were supported with the money and military help of the United States.
An empire was built based on the continuous pillage of the natural resources of the world and later the military presence in those same places that guarantees the permanence of oppressive and corrupt governments that benefit only the powerful.
So I was glad to see the solidarity, kindness and response of the local community, even though most of them ignore or forget that the situation of the current immigrants once more is due to many wrongs against them.
I love the climate of sharing and giving by agencies, companies, etc. who make collections, and fundraising to cover the needs of others. I remember well the turkeys and other goodies offered to the factory workers every year around this time. It was a nice gesture, but not the just one. People should have a fair salary that corresponds to the work they do and that is a right, not a donation.
People who work in this country should be able to earn a stable living that will allow them to work and prosper without having to beg for a place at the table that they have contributed to. They are not asking for the leftovers. They are expecting what is due to them.
I am grateful to God for having had the opportunity to meet people from many parts of the world who bring their rich stories and experiences, and I only hope that we will practice thanksgiving every day by acknowledging that we depend on each other and we should care for one another.
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