This 4th of July feels a little different than years past. I wasn’t really sure it felt right to celebrate the holiday in the recent wake of the civil rights moments spanned by George Floyd’s death and the continued protest against the ongoing racial disparity across the country.
4th of July just looks different knowing in all those years past celebrating – that the Independence of the 4th of July didn’t apply and still doesn’t to many citizens across the United States.
Learning The History:
My education about American History has certain gaps. I was primarily raised outside of the US for most of my childhood. A lot of my childhood was spent sailing the South Pacific and then living in the South of France for part of my Junior High years.
I feel like I have gotten a crash course in American History these last few months with learning about the Tulsa Race Massacre, Redlining, Juneteeth, and the still very present violent police brutality that BIPOC communities are still living with from those sworn to serve and protect them.
As part of trying to better educate myself I recently read Frederick Douglass speech:
In his speech, Frederick Douglass gives credit to the Founding Fathers of America, the architects of the Declaration of Independence, for their commitment to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”
But he also highlights the hypocrisy for their ideals given the existence of slavery in America, as well as the grave inequality and injustice African Americans experience.
The Responsibilities of Citizenship:
American Citizenship comes with rights, liberties, and justice, but also comes with equally important responsibilities. But when happens when some citizens are being deprived of the rights of their citizenship? When their own tax dollars provide and support a system that discriminates against them?
The 5 cornerstones of democracy are the freedom of assembly and speech, inclusiveness and equality, membership, consent, voting, right to life, and minority rights.
As the Constitution Says:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
We have responsibilities as citizens to fight for the full “inalienable rights” promised in the constitution – for all citizens
How do you celebrate Independence Day when people now still don’t feel free – don’t feel equal??
Now, let’s be clear about a few things. I am very proud to be an American. I think America is such an amazing melting pot. And the American entrepreneur spirit and resilience are like nothing else I have seen around the world.
But I am also educated and aware enough to admit we have serious structural issues at every level of our system. It is also not un-American to point out our flaws and self-reflect. This is how we grow. This is how we challenge ourselves. That is how we build a better tomorrow. Which is the goal – right?
We may be stitched together from all walks of life. But we are united in our goal of driving a better future and humanity for all.
So I am now looking at the 4th of July differently. Is it a day of recognition? A day of celebrating what could be? Instead of a celebration of the past – celebrate it as a day to strive for the American ideal. The hope that one day all men & women will truly be created & treated equally.
If we want to be the true leaders of democracy, equality for all – then we have to step up and make some real changes in America and across our institutionalized systems.
When we finally get there – it will be something to celebrate. But until then, we as Americans have a LOT of work to do.
Are you ready to do the work??
To take action please learn more about the historical events I listed above or sign these petitions:
♥ Please sign this petition and demand justice for Breonna Taylor: SIGN HERE!
♥ Please sign this petition and demand justice for Elijah McClain: SIGN HERE!
♥ Please sign this petition and demand ending qualified immunity: SIGN HERE!