Saturday, November 22, 2008

Questioning Thanksgiving

I remember this November the realities of genocide and destruction that we have chosen to forget in claiming "Thanksgiving:"
Resource on myths about Thanksgiving
Longer version with more references

In San Francisco, I remember that we live on land stolen from the the Ohlone people, and the people who were exploited in the Mission era. I remember the legacy of disproportionate poverty and hunger, homelessness and addiction which Europe brought to this land, which we who participate in America's economy maintain. On this Thanksgiving, I ask you to reflect on ways that we can join together in the struggle against these continued abuses of power and privilege.

Another perspective- it can be helpful to some homeless people to have access to big Thanksgiving holiday dinners, but it does little to solve the real problems of hunger, homelessness, substandard and non-existent housing, isolation, and respect. Here's a video from a New York homeless solidarity organization (the address for the event at the end is for NYC):

More info about community Thanksgiving meals in San Francisco if you are a person for whom this would be helpful.

What does this mean for us? One great thing about holidays is the tendency for people to want to donate to charities that serve the poor, playing on guilty feelings about people not having somewhere to celebrate. While this is useful to many homeless people, we urge you to instead or also think about what it would look like to pledge on Thanksgiving or December holidays to give year round, to work to advocate for justice and housing, and to work to counter the oppression in our society that leads people to get stuck in despairing situations without hope by organizing communities of liberation. We get plenty of donations in November and December, but remember that February and March are particularly cold and wet months in San Francisco- what about a pledge with your December gift to provide 10 blankets in February, or to join us in writing letters to the government to not leave poverty help out of the state/national budget?

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