Do You Celebrate The Fourth of July?

Damita Miller-Shanklin

Source: Kandace Redd

Growing up the fourth of July was a day my family went to Fiesta Gardens and ate lunch and spent time together. It was a day of being outside and don’t forget the fireworks. But once I became an adult and read more about the holiday, it was not a celebration of freedom for the black community. Our day of freedom has always been Juneteenth. That’s our freedom day!! At this point in my life, it’s a day off from work because I have already celebrated my freedom. 

Independence Day is the annual celebration of nationhood. It’s also called the Fourth of July or July 4th. The federal holiday commemorates the passage of the Declaration of Independence by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776. However, as Christi Ketchum, Founder of Sacramento Sister Circle said, “My people were going through a very traumatic time and the fight for freedom, liberty, and justice for Black people continued. For me, the Fourth of July is a time for my family to come together, get some good food, do fireworks, and make memories. It’s basically a day off. We can celebrate the Fourth of July. But, let’s be honest about what it is and is not.”

Frederick Douglass both praised and challenged Independence Day. He asked what does the fourth of July mean to a slave? His answer was “a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim.”

The question I asked is what does the Fourth of July mean to you and how do you celebrate it?

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