A lot of stuff in the past two weeks. BLM protests and the death of my grandpa kinda stand out. Made me take stock of where I’m at, and allowed me to reflect on some things. Things that I am grateful for. I recently wrote an article about what “white privilege” means to me. It got published in the Hartford Courant, and I’m pretty dang proud of that. While I was with with my family to mourn Grandpa Tony, my buddy Travis picked up a handful of copies for me. Half a page right in front of the opinion section!!
And so I reflected a little more, and realized how grateful I am for a couple things in particular. One, my grandfather. His migration story is like so many Italian migration stories. The whole she-bang: came to the USA with nothing, looking to work and work and work until he provided more for his family than he grew up with. One big opportunity that he seized throughout his struggle, was that he eventually was perceived as white. Like many other Italian immigrants. His skin color made “assimilation” possible… Not easy! But possible.
So, thanks to his work ethic and his skin color, I enjoy many privileges in life. I’d be a fool not to stop and count my blessings once in a while. Among those privileges lives snowboarding, skating, and surfing. Three things I very much enjoy. These privileges don’t just come out of thin air. They are the result of the choices made by those who came before me. And I realize there are people working hard today to make those choices and build those opportunities for all of those who don’t have them. One such organization is the SHRED Foundation. Check them out, they’re doing some really cool stuff in New York … giving kids who otherwise wouldn’t have received it the gift of snowboarding.
So on my way back from picking up these newspapers, I stopped off to appreciate this privilege. It was that beautiful, last-light hour at the end of a long June day. I found an empty parking lot and carved around for a bit on the surfskate. The dream.