Enjoy a happy Strikesgiving

December 3, 2013

At a small Indigenous Rights action to protest the annual Thanksgiving Day Parade in Chicago, Caroline Gonzales spoke about recent struggles for a living wage and rights on the job by low-wage workers. Here, we reprint her speech.

ON NOVEMBER 27, a day before Thanksgiving, "Strikesgiving" celebrated a win.

Whole Foods Market workers from the Halsted and Addison store demanded the ability to request Thanksgiving off. With the threat of a walkout looming, the store's management decided in favor of the workers.

This is part of a long series of battles in the Fight for 15 struggle. All over the nation, the week of Thanksgiving gives us battles to fight as workers and as Natives. As an Indigenous Rights activist, Thanksgiving is a long and hard day for me. This year, though, with the win for workers, strong support of struggles across the nation, and the solidarity of my comrades in my people's struggles, I celebrated joyfully.

Today, we have laws protecting our basic rights. There are also laws protecting the rights of the few to steal the wealth that is made by the many, even if it means slow deaths--from lack of health care, lack of education, lack of stability, clothing, heat, from lack of food.

On Thanksgiving, Americans celebrate a myth--that America is exceptional, welcoming and built from the beginning to care for all who reside here, whether of nature or humanity. But as many of you know, from the beginning, there have been laws, doctrines and policies designed to kill, designed for genocide. America's laws today are different, subtler, but they still kill. The laws made are not always just. The laws made are not always there to protect us.

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History tells us that those who believe in profit over people will take and take and take--until there is nothing left, nothing left to us.

Except there is so much to us, because we are many. Because we fight. Because we make the wealth in this nation. Because we are the wealth of this nation.

I celebrate Thanksgiving. I celebrate the generations before me, my family before me, who have fought death and have fought for my life.

In the past, I have not looked forward to celebrating Thanksgiving. I have not looked forward to nostalgically watching my children being taught by our education system lies of our history, of their history, of my history--whether it be of natives or workers.

So today, I start celebrating something new. My history, my friends and, most importantly, my fellow fighters.

Happy Strikesgiving!

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