Giving and Living Thanks Together
Pacifica Institute hosted its annual early Thanksgiving Dinner on November 7th, 2018 to bring diverse communities of Bay Area together. The dinner was part of Pacifica’s efforts and mission to develop social capital—the creation and extension of positive connections within our community. This year’s dinner was filled with gratefulness, enthusiasm and the desire to live together by celebrating diversity.
The dinner was focused on youth and how they turn their gratefulness into action. Two youth leaders from Pacifica community explained how they give thanks in the age of refugees. As the world is facing a refugee crisis in unforeseen numbers, it is critical to activate youth to help improve lives of refugees and make sure community if aware of the problems. The first youth leader, Selman, has presented his involvement in organizing a photo exhibit. It was about recent refugees from Turkey and what they could bring with them as they seek safety in other countries. The exhibit was named as ‘what I brought in my luggage’ and has attracted many local communities and opened a dialogue within the community on what can be done to help. Second youth leader, Almina, has presented his journey into the US, feeling grateful that she came way before things got worse in Turkey and had to help his parents into establishing a life here in the US. She has established a team of volunteers and they are providing English lessons over Skype to the young Turkish refugees in Greece. She summarized that this gives their peers a lot of hope as knowing English will help unlock many opportunities that lie ahead.
Lastly, Rebecca was one of the youth speakers to tell the audience about how she expresses her thanks through action in today’s world in Silicon Valley as a young Jewish woman. She summarized that she made a habit of finding 5 things to be thankful everyday and that this made her realize how much she had to be thankful for.
Dinner has continued with remarks from guests primarily on giving thanks to many things we take for granted. A special remark made by Steven Herrera has impressed the audience. He mentioned about some of the activities that he is organizing with youth like visiting immigrant families. He gave thanks to his mother and wife for unconditionally loving and supporting him. He also mentioned about his trip to Turkey organized by Pacifica a few years back. On the trip, he met a lot of innocent people from the Hizmet movement some of which either had to flee the country or are being held hostage in jails. He emphasized how much we should be grateful for living in a free country.
Dinner has commenced with an interesting table activity where everyone has picked up some corn kernels from a cup and filled the cup back by saying one thing that they are grateful for. As everybody has thought about them, all came to realize that we have so many things to grateful for and we all have common aspects in our life that we give thanks to.
It was a night filled with friendship, gratefulness, and a desire to take action in helping the people in need. We thank all the attendees and look forward to seeing everyone participating in future Pacifica events.