Today, in the US, we celebrate our independence. July 4, 1776 marks the day that the original 13 colonies declared themselves an independent nation, separate from England. This year it’s especially difficult for me to celebrate because of the condition of this country. I feel some level of shame for the things right outside my doorstep. We are a nation of immigrants. We were destined to be diverse yet hate grows. Before that,the land we stand on belonged to the Native Americans. It’s amazing how time erases truths and we continues to take from those in which we should be protecting.
There is so much injustice in the timeline of this country, it’s hard to believe that there are still fighters left. I understand that in order for change to occur, the masses need to see the problem and therefore a fight is inevitable. But why are the fights so difficult and why do so many people need to get hurt or die because of it? So many people are left broken and shaken yet still fighting. I think it proves just how great those people are. For those in power, just having (and keeping) power or the upper hand is not what life is about. Thinking you are superior to others does not make it true. If anything it shows that your are overcompensating for what you lack.
Shame. Power should be used to bring us together, not pull people apart.
In the past week, I read two books that have opened my eyes to things of American past. It further solidified that for some people it is easy to shed humanity like a coat in search of selfish endeavors or just to continue business as usual. The book titled The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd introduced me to Sarah and Angelina Grimke and the book titled The Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline introduced me to the concept of orphan trains. I felt foolish for not already holding this knowledge but I know that it is impossible to teach the entire history of the world. It hurts my heart to peel back another onion layer of this country’s harsh history.
We are destined to remain mindless robots if we don’t pick up a book (put down the phone and remote) and step outside of our realm of knowledge. Can someone truly believe that the whole country of Mexico is solely rapist and drug dealers? If that is true, what are we a country of?
Sadness consumes me.
I think it is important to celebrate our history but equally important to know the facts and share them with empathy. As you attend your BBQs and watch the beautiful fireworks in the sky think about your immigrant ancestors and what they fought for to make sure you could celebrate today.
I leave you with this one quote:
“History is not just facts and events. History is also a pain in the heart and we repeat history until we are able to make another’s pain in the heart our own.” ~Julius Lester