CITYWIDE Thanksgiving is a uniquely American holiday that is characterized by gratitude for food, family and friends. In homes all across the country people are coming together to sit down and offer up warm meals and warm smiles. We asked a few prominent Santa Monica community leaders to share what they are thankful for this holiday season.

 

 

Chui Tsang said he will be sharing his Thanksgiving meal with a few internation- al students from around the globe in what has become an annual tradition.

The educator and president of Santa Monica College, said he invites a few students who come from overseas to sit at his Thanksgiving table and talk about what the holiday means for them.

“The holiday is symbolic of what a great nation we are, how people from different backgrounds and countries are all wel- comed,” Tsang said. “I always like to tell our students, especially from other countries, that this is basically how our country came into being, through hospitality and friend- ship.”

Tsang said that he is grateful for the financial turnaround of the state, which cor- responds with increased funding for the col- lege. He said that more funding means the school can better fulfill its mission to edu- cate.

“We’re slowly restoring a list of the class- es that have suffered from the lack of funds,” he said, before launching into a passionate speech about the social value and equity that higher education brings to students and the state of California as a whole.

“That was probably a long lesson, but I’m a teacher,” Tsang said laughing.

Nat Trives, wears the moniker of Mr. Santa Monica proudly, and the name is well- earned. A former police officer for the city, he has also served on the city council and as mayor of the Westside community.

Now retired, Trives dedicates his time towards volunteer and service opportunities and mentoring and guiding young residents. “I’ve been retired 17 years and my calen- dar is busier now than ever in my working life,” Trives said.
A three-time cancer survivor, Trives said he is ultimately thankful that he has been able to give back to the community which has provided him so much.

“I’m really thankful for the fact that I’m still around and able to keep helping others,” he said.

Mayor Pam O’Connor recently staved off a slate of challengers and triumphed in a hard-fought campaign over the seat on the city council she has held for years.

But while she has plenty to be thankful for on the political front, she reminded Santa Monicans to remember the city employees who make their holiday season possible.

“I am thankful for the dedicated City of Santa Monica employees especially those who are working on Thanksgiving Day, and other holidays, protecting our safety, driving buses, maintaining services and facilities so the rest of us can celebrate the holiday with our friends and families,” O’Connor said.

 

 

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