I’ve always felt really weird about the Fourth of July.
I mean the surface level of the holiday is about independence. About freedom.
We ran from the British back in the 1700s - that’s three HUNDRED years ago.
We said fuck you, if you won’t give us the freedom we want to practice our religion we’ll find another land, build another country and live our best lives!!!!!
That all sounds great and grand, doesn’t it?!
Freedom: the basic right on which we founded this country.
But, I always think of the people that the original settlers wronged to take what they wanted.
The Native Americans that thrived on the land (the settlers stole) for thousands of years.
The Africans that were taken from their homes. Starved. Beaten. Raped. Treated like animals.
The LGBTQAI+ community that still suffers to express freedom to be themselves all over the United States of America.
Not even 100 years ago, my people - the Jewish people - were murdered.
Millions and millions of innocent individuals seeking to practice their religion in peace were killed.
They say that trauma can live through generations.
And maybe that’s why I’ve always felt off about this holiday proclaiming we - as Americans - provide “freedom for all”. Because I remember what happened to my people and that triggers me to be so aware of what is happening in our country to people like mine every single day.
To be honest, I never felt like I could write about any of this because I am privileged.
I am a white, skinny, woman.
I - as we all do - come with a predisposed image of who we are and what we care about based on our looks. I have experienced that.
But, most of the time the image I am viewed in is a light one.
That I am weak.
That I won’t stand up for myself.
That I am not intelligent, or capable of leading.
I have proved this to all be untrue time and time again.
But, I have never been mistaken as a criminal.
I have never experienced terror when a police car has driven by or pulled me over.
I will never understand that.
So today, I reflect on what it means not just to have the freedom of living here in America… but the freedom that I have with white privilege. And not to keep my mouth closed because I don’t want to make black or brown and gay communities feel like I’m talking about something I don’t understand.
But instead to come out and say I DO NOT UNDERSTAND.
I will not ever know what you are going through.
But I will stand by you and fight this fight.
I will put on a bikini today and drink spiked seltzers and tan on the rooftop and blast music with my friends. I will be grateful for what I have been given.
And I will also speak about what isn’t right. I will look back on the wrongs this country has done for the sake of the white man’s safety and I will call it out. I will say what we have done is not right.
But we can do better.
We can shift the narrative and continue to educate.
To talk about what it does mean to be
in this country.
Help lift each other up.
And instead of hiding away because it doesn’t feel like this is your fight. Or that you might say something wrong. Or that you’ll be judged.
Come out and say “I want to do better. How can I help?”
So, that is what this post is about today.
Proclaiming we have to do better.
I will fight with you.
Take a minute to reflect upon what freedoms you have been given today… don’t feel guilty or burdened with them. Just reflect and be grateful, and extend a hand to someone who hasn’t been gifted what you have today. We can only make the country and the world a better place for all if we join together.