I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! I took a bit of a long break this past week, both from work and social media, to visit California! The land of tech, startups, environmentalism, and social entrepreneurship. And simultaneously, a hotbed of Occupy Oakland activism combined with shocking police brutality that has drawn national attention to issues of police misconduct. I didn’t get to witness much protesting, beyond Occupy general meetings, during my time there, but it is a truly remarkable location with so much to offer and many contradictions. San Francisco is a beautiful place and I loved my time spent in the bay area. Here are some memories made in the bay — taken completely by my iPhone (so excuse the poor image quality!):
I also had some time to reflect on my year, and though I didn’t post on Thanksgiving, I’d still like to give thanks for what I have. I’m thankful for a warm bed, a roof over my head, and not having to ever worry about homelessness. I’m thankful that I always have enough to eat and drink, and perhaps too much delicious food on some days! I’m grateful for the simplest of things – clean water to drink, sanitation, health care, employment, and a steady paycheck. I’m grateful for my education and the ability to read, write, and study things I love. I’m thankful because of my privilege, and the ability I have to donate, act, speak out freely, organize, fight for what I believe in, and write what I want to online and offline. I’m thankful because I have so much that I can give something back. I am grateful beyond words for the opportunity to follow my passion, to craft a career based on what I want to do. I am thankful to have the chance to travel and see the beautiful landscapes and meet wonderful people in my own country, and also across the globe. I am thankful for activists, movement leaders, social entrepreneurs, social justice organizers, feminists, nonprofiteers and community leaders changing our world for the better! But most of all, I’m thankful for deep love and true friendship – both of which I have in abundance.
I suppose none of this is particularly unique or particularly poignant, but for me, remembering all I have is enough. All too often, I adopt a pessimistic face – about life, my work, my seemingly limited ability to affect change, and all that is wrong in this world. But remembering all the positive things in my life and on this planet sparks gratitude in me – and that is invaluable.
I am also immensely grateful for my journey towards justice. If you notice, I’ve changed the name of this blog to just that. I wanted something a little more emblematic of both the personal and professional journey I’m on and that I write about here. I believe in savoring the journey too – not just the end goal. So I’m grateful for the opportunity to keep learning about the world, about human rights and social change issues, about feminism and domestic violence, about war and post-conflict reconciliation, and about the potential of the legal system to protect basic rights, address poverty, and promote peace. My journey has thus far taken the form of studying political science and development economics, writing a thesis on transitional justice and reconciliation in Sierra Leone and Rwanda, working to raise hundreds of thousands for an Afghan NGO focusing on rule of law & access to justice for women and girls, traveling to Afghanistan, working at a civil rights law firm, and becoming a trained advocate on behalf of domestic violence survivors and immigrants from Asia. My next step in this journey: most likely spending more time abroad to learn about these issues, and starting law school!
I am endlessly enthralled by this journey, and even in the not-so-thrilling-moments, I am remembering to be grateful. And I can’t tell you how excited I am about the next step on this road!