As I write this, terrorists are attacking Western and Indian targets in Mumbai in one of the safest, most cosmopolitan areas of India. Meanwhile, threat levels blare orange as Americans travel home for the holiday. I am reminded of how closely we are all connected and of the need to work together to inspire hope in place of hatred.

Just this past weekend, AID hosted a Rethinking Counter Terrorism Retreat in LA which featured activists, professionals, filmmakers, and regular volunteers who have chosen to focus not on our differences but on the common bonds of humanity that unite us.* These individuals give poor communities a path to development in place of the desperation that leads to conflict and terrorism. Access to education, jobs, health care, and more equal rights provides individuals in vulnerable areas with a real future, giving them a strong reason to choose peace over war.

As you count your blessings this Thanksgiving, consider those less fortunate and what you can do locally to support the common goal of a safer, happier world. Here’s hoping a ‘Green level’ holiday is not too far off.

* The Retreat featured guests from CARE International, Help the Afghan Children, Principle Pictures, Serving Women Across Nations (SWAN), and the RAND Alternative Strategy Initiative.

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