What to do when you hear about nearby riots

Tonight in Oakland, only a mile or two away from where I was staying, there were riots protesting the Johannes Mehserle verdict. It was reminiscent of the 1992 Rodney King beating to many observers. What did I do while windows were being smashed and fires set in the streets? I played kickball. It was fun, though my host’s friends probably aren’t people I would choose to be friends with myself.

But my point is, nearby violence reminds me to be thankful for the relative ease of my life. I’m thankful for my luckiness at being born into a privileged class. I’m thankful for my healthy relationships with friends and family. I’m thankful for growing up in an environment that values equality and justice. I’m thankful for my current good health. All of these things are extremely easily overlooked, so whenever the opportunity arises, please join me in feeling gratitude for whatever your own blessings may be.

I’m also thankful for the opportunity I am presented with today. I happen to have one friend who works at Facebook and two more who work at Google, so today I am visiting Silicon Valley and the physical homes of the two biggest pillars of my online world. This is a pilgrimage for me not unlike visiting my parents’ childhood homes or meeting my favorite blogger. I am grateful to the point of shock that I am presented with such an opportunity. I will report back on my findings.

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