I bet the 4th of July hit a little different for the white folks this year huh?
Hey babes! It’s been a little minute, I've been contemplating writing so many versions of this piece and probably still will but with all that has transpired, I think it’s time to let it out and speak on it. And what better day than their very own InDePeNdEnCe DaY.
Growing up in Jamaica, July 4th was just another day of the week. Nothing special, nothing spectacular... until I moved to the US where it then became a day of BBQs, cookouts, rooftop parties, and fireworks but in my mind, it was still not seen as a public holiday to be celebrated.
How can I celebrate the independence of a nation that was built on the blood of black and minority people?
How can I celebrate when that same country has failed to even acknowledge the damage that has been done to my community time and time again?
How can I celebrate this country’s democracy and freedom when all I see are lies and coverups?
How can I celebrate a country that can’t see past the color of my skin or what I can do to benefit them?
This year, more than any, sits very differently. Not only among our white counterparts but for African-Americans especially, this year has helped the majority to realize and educate themselves on Juneteenth and what it symbolizes for blacks in America. If you're still unaware, Juneteenth dated back to June 19, 1865, is the day Federal troops arrived in Texas to overcome the resistance of the executive order to end slavery. A pretty big moment in America's history right? Yet, it's not a public holiday and hasn't been celebrated or even acknowledged in decades.
The Declaration of Independence, drafted in 1776 by Thomas Jefferson, states that “all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness“ but did they really believe these words?
I’m sure our white counterparts would like to think they did and still do but as I’m reading through the document I remembered, oh right... blacks and minorities weren’t even seen as people so how can all men be equal? And even after the signage of the document, why did it take almost 100 years to grant our people "freedom"?
There lies one of the biggest issues that would shape America into exactly what it is now. Two CENTURIES have passed and we’re still fighting for basic HUMAN RIGHTS!! P.S, it’s been 200 years my guy, when are we gonna update this thing? Ok, you wanna preserve the words of your forefathers but the vision for America can’t be the same as it was 200 years ago. What do they say? History is a cycle, it just keeps repeating itself UNLESS we change the script! So much has happened, yet so little has been done to truly change the corrupt systems under which we live. It is not until the government and Americans are fully honest with themselves and take accountability for their past wrongdoings, only then can we begin the process of healing.
In the words of Frederick Douglass -
"This Fourth of July is yours, not mine, You may rejoice, I must mourn."
P.S. if you haven't read this speech, What to the Slave, is the Fourth of July?, YOU SHOULD!
Listen, I don't know about you but MY Independence Day is and will always be August 6th, the day JAMAICA got from under our colonizer‘s thumb.
well, that's it for today's rant. Thanks for reading!!
I'll definitely be back with more. Also feel free to drop your thoughts in the comments below.
'ppreciate you :)