I don’t support the colonialist holiday most Americans celebrate today (we only celebrate Lā Kūʻokoʻa in this household), but it would be a mistake to not recognize how lucky I am every day and acknowledge everything I’m thankful for, especially this year when everything is still scary and uncertain. I definitely benefit from a great deal of privilege compared to other people around the world, specifically when it comes to health, familial connections, and basic living necessities. This year, one of the main things I’m thankful for is the health and wellbeing of my family and friends. I always write about the ones I love most here and during a period of time where people are losing their loved ones suddenly and in terrifying ways, I want to recognize just how blessed I am to still be among everyone I care about. I’m lucky to live with my parents and grandparents (rent is extremely expensive all across America and people are being evicted at rapid rates since eviction moratoriums are either expiring or haven’t been put in place) and when my sister is home, I’m not too far away from her. Jonathan and Lo have been my best friends in the world since I started working with them in 2016 and even though I moved back home in 2019, our friendship has stayed exactly the same. I never worry that we’ll drift apart or we won’t have the same connection over the years because we talk all day long every single day and it’s like I never left. I can’t wait till traveling is safe again because I’ll be in Waco as soon as I can (March here I come!!). I also have the most amazing group of best friends (Kaiʻolu, Parker, Brandon, and Mikayla) here with whom I’ve been close for 8 or more years. Even throughout the past two years of pandemic we’ve found ways to spend time together outside so we can still have fun and enjoy each others’ company. Conor, Parker, and I formed the most fun and hilarious friendship a couple years ago, but we became extremely close after our college graduations and I couldn’t be happier with our trio. We don’t see each other as often as we used to since we’re all busy with work and aren’t going out like pre-COVID, but I still consider them two of my closest friends. I’m currently in the most loving and fulfilling relationship of my life and I’m thankful to have a partner who is everything I could ever want. My partner is extraordinarily kind, thoughtful, generous, patient, and loyal and he makes me a better person every day. Since I have to work under capitalism, I’m grateful to have a job where I have a little more independence than before and I actually feel like I’m making a difference. I’ve always wanted to help our houseless community members and now I have tangible ways of doing just that.
Every year, I think about the people in prisons and jails across America who are locked in cages instead of with their families and the people they love. I can’t imagine how devastating their holiday season (as well as every other day) is when they’re separated from their loved ones. While it’s nice to share everything I’m thankful for today, it’s important to remember that not everyone is as lucky as I am and that no one belongs in jail, prison, or immigrant detention. I hope we’ll all acknowledge those who are incarcerated, homeless, sick, or living in poverty so we can work with mutual aid groups, bail funds, and small organizations to provide people with what they need to live and thrive. We are all we have and collectively fighting for each other and a better world is what I’m especially thankful for.