So its the fourth of July today which means the U.S will celebrate its 239th year since the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, by the Continental Congress declaring that the thirteen American colonies will regard themselves as a new nation. Most of the nation will have a big BBQ and fireworks. This fourth I will be thinking about the what the fourth means to me. It has been on my heart all day to write this.
Especially with everything that has happened in the last couple of weeks with the death of nine innocent people in Charleston, North Carolina it made me really think about the Fourth of July. To be honest I am not in a celebrating mood. The fourth was one of my favorite holidays as a child. It was not just the fireworks and the watermelon that appealed to a young me but it was the sense of pride to that I belonged to a great nation. That this was a land of great opportunity. From early on my grandmother instilled in me that in this land you can achieve anything you just have to work a little harder than most. But this fourth I am not in the mood to celebrate. I am feeling very unpatriotic.
In 1776 my ancestors were slaves. When they first sent the The Declaration of Independence to the British, the founders stated 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.” That turned out to be false because all men were not equal nor would they ever be an equal when you have people burning down predominantly black churches this past week. And these men would not be “equal” until maybe The Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 that freed African Americans in free states, and after the Civil War, the Thirteenth Amendment emancipated all U.S. slaves in all states. With that being said should an African American Celebrate the Fourth of July? Because were we ever truly an equal? When the confederate flag waves so freely in the southern states.
One of my high school teachers Mr. White said to me “We were once slaves, but are we truly free?” When writing this I thought back to that day he asked me. A young me at that time, thought didn’t you just teach us about freeing the slaves so yes we are free. Now that I am older and had life experiences. That question is in the forefront of my mind. To this day people of my color are still dying and the people that are doing the killing are walking away. So where in here do these African Americans have the right to life as the the Declaration of Independence stated? It does not feel like freedom to me.
During the civil rights churches were burned down left and right. Growing up my mother, aunts and grandmother were around when Martin Luther King and other Civil Rights leaders fought for Civil Rights for African Americans. To see this is my day and age is sad and makes me wonder how far we have regressed and not even realized it. I understand that racism will never go away. But I thought that as a nation we have come far, farther then other nations. Over the last few years I have seen young men and women beat, jailed, or killed because of the color of there skin.
How can I feel patriotic when I see fellow African Americans face injustice everyday? How can I feel a sense of pride when I see how the news portray people of color? With those questions being asked I can not in good faith feel anything but anger and extreme sadness that in this era people are still facing extreme forms of racism and hate. My fellow countryman think its okay to wave a flag that symbolizes so much pain to a lot of people.
I am extremely disheartened on this day because when the Declaration of Independence was written it was not for everyone it was for certain type of person. So I can not stand up and celebrate with the rest of the country. I can not stand up and enjoy it when nine African Americans will never see another Fourth of July.
With that being said I will boycott the Fourth of July until everyone can stand up and feel a sense of pride about our country.
This is one of my favorite poems from this young woman, it speaks of what I was feeling on this day put in slam poetry.