Dr. Julianne Malveaux
Dean, College of Ethnic Studies
Cal State LA
It is always a good idea to give thanks. Indeed, I was on a zoom call recently when the sisterminister lifted up “thanksliving” as a way of life, as opposed to Thanksgiving as a day that was established on extremely shaky ground. I aspire to “thanksliving”, living my life in peace and gratitude. I don’t always achieve that to which I aspire, but the concept of “thanksliving” is powerful, and I am grateful to the anointed woman who shared it.
Even as we enjoy family and friends, food, music and the counting of blessings, we must recognize the putrid foundations of this day and the predatory capitalist myths that surround it. Far from a day when Pilgrims and Indigenous people shared a meal, it is also the foundation for land theft, genocide, and European terrorism. Myth-makers revel in this notion of “harmony”, while Indigenous people mourn on this day, and we must all mourn with them.
Myth-busting is the foundation of Ethnic Studies. There are so very many myths that undergird this country, so many self-serving myths that those who oppose the plain truth would maintain. The truth – Europeans stole this country and Indigenous people have yet to be made whole. Europeans enslaved Africans and reparations have yet to be paid. So-called American stole California from Mexico and have yet to make amends, instead turning people away from the border and caging children. And I could go on.
I am profoundly grateful to my Higher Power for life, for opportunity, and for the ability to raise my voice and to resist the forces of predatory capitalism. I am grateful to the warriors who continue to fight for voting rights, for a living wage, and for access to health care. I am grateful for my family as we gather to love and support each other and to give thanks. And I am grateful for my colleagues in the College of Ethnic Studies at Cal State LA, the truth-seekers and truth-tellers who are seeking to make the academy more honest.