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    A Time to Give Thanks

    By Eduardo Morales, Ph.D.–

    During this month of November, we give thanks for those who have positively impacted our lives, for events that have helped us to celebrate ourselves, and for support in maintaining our health and well-being. Although we are experiencing difficult health challenges as a result of COVID-19, the MPX virus, and various respiratory ailments that are most impacting children and youth currently, many have taken advantage of vaccines to minimize exposure and reduce symptoms. This combined with using masks is a strategy that merits gratitude, since we at least have ways to maintain our health during this long stretch of time.

    Reconnecting with past friends can also be helpful for our well-being. I find this to be a good time to reflect on our good fortunes and fond memories, and to reach out to connections from our distant past just to say hello.

    I am hopeful that we can re-engage and return to favorite social experiences, making our lives more exciting and joyful. Think about doing one deed each day to help others while also having it be fulfilling for you. I like to use this month of November to celebrate and acknowledge the value of others, with the dinner gathering—Thanksgiving—serving as the penultimate extension of gratitude.

    This is a month where we also recognize and express gratitude to our veterans who have served our country. Veterans Day this year will be on Friday, November 11.

    Thanksgiving Latinx Food Traditions

    While Thanksgiving is not celebrated in Latin America, many Latinx individuals in the U.S. feel a special connection to the holiday. Apart from the usual turkey and ham options, Latinx people usually incorporate traditional dishes from their native cultures into the holiday. They tend to tailor their Thanksgiving meals to meet the duality of their culture in the U.S. while paying tribute to their roots.

    Cubans and Puerto Ricans, for example, often have platanos maduros, or plainly called maduros by Dominicans (fried sweet plantains), and yucca dishes accompanied by various preparations of savory yellow rice. Cubans commonly have black beans while Puerto Ricans and Dominicans may have mofongo, which is mashed green plantains that are seasoned with garlic and pork, shaped into a ball, and served in a cup or ramekin with a sauce.

    Puerto Ricans may have pastelón, which is a classic dish made of layers of thinly sliced sweet plantains, ground beef, and cheese—commonly referred to as Puerto Rican Plantain Lasagna. Argentinians usually have Milanesa, an array of breaded meats, on their Thanksgiving tables.

    For Venezuelans, ensalada de gallina (hen), a type of chicken salad, is common at a Thanksgiving feast. Mexicans may include pozole, a hominy and meat soup, and dishes with mole, an unsweetened chocolate and chile-flavored sauce. For desserts, one can expect in Latinx dinners flan, tres leches cake that can be up to cinco leches cake depending on the cook’s recipe, and rice pudding preferably made with coconut milk, flavored with cinnamon and sometimes raisins.

    On November 17 from 6 pm to 8 pm, AGUILAS will have its annual Thanksgiving event with food and celebration at the SF LGBT Center. Check the AGUILAS website for details:

    Update on Pulse Memorial in San Francisco

    San Francisco has finally completed its own memorial to the Florida Pulse nightclub victims: 49 individuals killed on the night of June 29, 2016. This was considered the worse mass shooting in our recent history with many of the victims being Latinx LGBTQ.

    It is expected that the official unveiling of the San Francisco Pulse Memorial will take place at 5 pm on Wednesday, December 7, at the SF LGBT Center. The staff of AGUILAS, together with the staff of the SF LGBT Center, have worked very hard to make this memorial a reality through funds provided by the SF Board of Supervisors.

    Stay tuned for more details. There are many people who participated in making this San Francisco Pulse Memorial possible. We wish to thank them for their dedication, and will do so more in the coming weeks. In the meantime, Happy Thanksgiving—
    Feliz día de acción de gracias!

    Eduardo Morales, Ph.D. is a Professor Emeritus, retired Distinguished Professor, and current adjunct professor at Alliant International University. He is also a licensed psychologist and a founder and current Executive Director of AGUILAS, an award-winning program for Latinx LGBTQ+. Of Puerto Rican decent, he has received numerous distinguished awards and citations, including being named a Fellow of 12 divisions of the American Psychological Association.

    Nuestra Voz
    Published on November 3, 2022