Celebrating the Fourth of July during the BLM Movement

Celebrating+the+Fourth+of+July+during+the+BLM+Movement

Lifestyle Staff

Coming to Terms

Parker Otto – Columnist 

As someone who grew up in rural Illinois, the Fourth of July was, and is, a major holiday. We would go all out in celebrating from having a big parade, all sorts of events in town and a fantastic fireworks display. 

We would remember all those who are currently serving in the military, those who were veterans and those who never came home in the line of duty. It was something that made me proud to be an American. But, as I grow older, I realize more and more that the country I love is far from perfect.

I feel that, as we celebrate America’s birthday, we need to remember two things. We need to accept our country is flawed and that changes still need to be made. With our economy and public health jeopardized by the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s safe to say that we need to be more prepared for unexpected disasters and our government should also be more ready for emergencies. As the death of George Floyd reignited a movement, the likes of which hasn’t been seen for a long time, we need to address issues of systemic racism and police brutality. 

Only by addressing these issues, can we make our country truly great. America’s greatness doesn’t lie in a politician or one way of thinking, it comes from different people of different ways of life working together to form a better nation for everyone.

In the past few months, I’ve seen some true acts of being a good American. I saw small business owners receive aid from their communities. I saw people willingly have COVID-19 injected into them in hopes of finding a vaccine. I saw tens of thousands of people march in defiance of racism and to bring awareness to Black Lives Matter.

Am I saying that America is perfect? Of course not. We still have a lot of work to do, but I still love my country and wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. So, on America’s Birthday, have fun, take care of yourself and your family and, most importantly, know what makes this country great and know what doesn’t.

 

Wearing all Black

Jacob Baker – Columnist 

This upcoming Fourth of July weekend will see a lot of the same occurrences it usually does — boats on the lake, grilling and drinking, clothing that champions the American flag, fireworks and celebrating the independence that was coined in 1776. Freedom is a huge theme of this holiday but this year has proved that freedom isn’t a luxury all Americans have. That’s why some are wearing black clothing instead of red, white and blue. 

When the declaration of independence was signed in 1776, it may have signaled a win of freedom from the monarch of Britain, but slavery was still a major occurrence in America. 2020 has yet still proved this very country still does not provide that freedom to people of color who are still suffering from generations of racism, oppression and police brutality. 

America has a broken system that discriminates against people of color and the growing list of deceased black citizens proves that. So, for this Fourth of July, wearing black instead of America’s colors is a perfect way to stand in solidarity for all of the black lives lost and the black voices who have contributed to the fight against that oppression. It’s important to keep these issues in the spotlight and this method is a peaceful form of protesting in which anyone can participate.

 

A Moment of Silence

Colton Loeb – Columnist 

105 Black civilians were shot and killed as of June 30, 2020 according to Statista. That’s 31 fatal shootings per million of the population. This Fourth of July, let us remember those who have died at the hands of law enforcement by taking a moment of silence for each person we lost to police brutality this year. 

The Fourth of July is a celebration of freedom to many, but to some freedom is not free. The injustice of racial inequality remains prevalent and consistent in our country. 

The Black Lives Matter Movement, formed in 2013, has been a leading voice against police brutality in the U.S. by organizing “die-ins”, marches and demonstrations in response to the killings of black men and women by police, according to Statista. 

It isn’t much, but taking a moment out of your busy day to sit in silence and remember those taken by injustice is the least we can do.

Take a moment to remember George Floyd, the man whose death sparked the resurgence in the Black Lives Matter Movement. 

Throughout history moments of silence have been taken by people and governments to honor the dead. The first documented moment of silence occured in Portugal, February 3, 1912. The Portuguese Senate dedicated 10 minutes of silence to the baron of Rio Branco, Brazil. That very same year parts of the US held moments of silence to honor the dead of the Maine and Titanic. 

July Fourth is a holiday that is constructed around cookouts and fireworks, both of which are noisy activities. Taking a moment of silence today serves as a stark reminder of the lives lost and a lesson to feel empathy for your fellow Americans.