Thanksgiving is a little different this year, but we still have our founder’s ‘attitude of gratitude’

Photo of Dick Rowland by Craig T. Kojima, courtesy of the Honolulu Star-Advertiser

For many of us, Thanksgiving is a little different this year.

But while the gatherings might be smaller or the menus changed, one thing remains the same: We are still full of thanks for the blessings we have received.

When I sat down to write this Thanksgiving Day message, I thought of Dick Rowland, founder of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, who has long advocated an “attitude of gratitude.”

When Dick talks about gratitude, he’s usually talking about his appreciation for the Founding Fathers, who set forth a government that would secure the freedom of generations.

On this Thanksgiving, I find myself feeling similar gratitude to the Grassroot Institute’s founder, who had the vision and courage to get our organization started.

The Grassroot Institute of Hawaii wasn’t the product of a corporate grant or a foundational gift. It was started by a group of locals, who saw the need for an organization that would defend the free market and individual liberty.

Dick, who continues as our chairman emeritus, has shaped the vision of the Grassroot Institute from the earliest days. He even came up with a simple test to use when weighing government actions: Does this action help us reach up to individual liberty and autonomy? Or does it force all of us down to bigger, more intrusive government?

People sometimes ask why our name is “Grassroot” instead of “Grassroots.” That’s because our name also reflects Dick’s vision, which emphasizes how real change starts with the individual. In his words, “If liberty is to be, it is up to me!”

Which brings me to my other reason to be thankful today.

I am beyond thankful for all of you, the people who have supported the Grassroot Institute. Whether you’re a longtime member or someone who only just joined our efforts, I am grateful that you are part of our family.

You are the reason that the Grassroot Institute exists and continues to be successful. We could not be effective without your help and your voices.

As we work to educate Hawaii’s policymakers and the public, our staff is aware that we are part of something bigger — a real movement to foster freedom and prosperity in our state.

I often end these messages with another saying: “E hana kakou,” or “Let’s work together.” Today, I want to wish you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving. And say, “Let’s give thanks together.”

Thank you for being part of our vision for a better Hawaii.

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