Celebrate and Advocate–Happy 4th of July

July 4th marks Independence Day.  This day first started in 1776 when the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence to make the American colonies free from Great Britain’s rule. 

In many ways this is a proud time in our history and there is a lot to celebrate. We can take pride in our accomplishments from that time and celebrate,  while also holding space for some of the discrepancies in freedom that occurred. The Declaration of Independence stated that all men are created equal and were to be given the rights of “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”  However, it became clear in the laws that were made that these pursuits did not apply to women, Native Americans or African Americans.  For a country that bills itself as a melting pot, we have not always been welcoming to immigrants or to those that are different. We still have a ways to go, but we can work together to continue to build an equitable future for all.

As attempts are made to take away rights and pass laws that will oppress certain groups, let’s remember the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., “A threat to justice anywhere, is a threat to justice everywhere.”

History has shown us that sometimes we do not recognize the threats to freedom or our roles in it, until we are too far in to do anything.

Martin Niemöller was a Lutheran pastor and theologian born in Germany in 1892. He was an anti-Communist and supported Hitler’s rise to power. After he came to power, Hitler insisted on the supremacy of the state over religion and Niemöller became disillusioned. He became the leader of a group of German clergymen opposed to Hitler. In 1937 he was arrested and confined in Sachsenhausen and Dachau. He wrote this poem recognizing his complicity in Hitler’s rise to power and the human rights atrocities that followed. (Wikipedia)

First they came for the Communists

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a Communist

Then they came for the Socialists

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a Socialist

Then they came for the trade unionists

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a trade unionist

Then they came for the Jews

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a Jew

Then they came for me

And there was no one left

To speak out for me

As you celebrate our great country this 4th of July, take a moment to reflect on the people in your community who might need your support and be sure you are speaking out for them.  Want more ideas for action you can take?  Check out the resources below.



How to help stop racism

LGTBQ Task Force

The Center for Reproductive Rights

7 Practical Ways to Help the Homeless