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Fighting for our rights on July 4th

Ronald Mitchell
Fighting for our rights on July 4th
“You have to be ‘Down’ to get invited.”

This week we celebrate the birth of our nation. But the question is: Is it going to continue to live up to the ideals that it was founded on? Our patriots paid with their lives for it to evolve into a more just nation.

This week we shall celebrate the founding of our nation, which was created by a handful of patriots, a group of land-owning men who decided that they no longer wanted to be governed by a king. They banded together and fought against the King of England to create their own nation.

However, the revolution was not without its flaws, including slavery and the oppression of women. Frederick Douglass in his famous July 1852 speech poignantly pointed out that 76 years after the War for Independence was fought, Black people weren’t free. “The rich inheritance of justice, liberty, prosperity, and independence, bequeathed by your fathers, is shared by you, not by me,” Douglass said.

The principles that this country was founded on encouraged us as a nation to strive to be better and change the laws and societal norms that created the oppression. This nation has gone through a Civil War, Jim Crow, separate but equal and the fight for civil rights. This effort has made the country a better place to live in and, for many, the envy of the world. And those principles have lasted throughout the test of time.

And these founding principles inspire each new generation to produce a new set of patriots who fight to make this country better.

There have been many, going back to the beginning of this nation’s history. From Crispus Attucks, the first man of to die in the American Revolution, to Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth and Fredrick Douglass, these individuals fought for their country to be better through the book, the pen and their will to survive, setting examples for us all.

Many stood strong when the ravages of Jim Crow prevented people of color from succeeding, and we looked to their guidance through their achievements and how they excelled and overcame adversity. We saw Edward Bouchet become the first Black person to earn a Ph.D. in the United States and watched as Madame C.J. Walker become the country’s first self-made female millionaire. As the country continued to change, so did our patriots, like Ida B. Wells and W.E.B. DuBois, both investigative journalists who became two of the founders of the NAACP. Thurgood Marshall and Constance Baker Motley argued that separate was not equal in the case Brown vs. the Board of Education before the Supreme Court and won a landmark victory for this country. They are people who put their country first instead of themselves and made this country better.

Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Coretta Scott King and Malcolm X loved this country and wanted to make our lives more equitable, by any means necessary. They were constantly fighting for the rights of all people in these United States.

Patriotism and love of country takes a variety of forms and includes folks from all walks of life — from our local leaders to anyone who fights for change to make this country better.

The principles that this nation stands for are our most fundamental and include the right to live a good life without interference, manipulation or abuse by those in power.

We have the right in our society to determine our own laws. And these rights have been fought for and reaffirmed by our Black American patriots for centuries.

Now is the time to continue to live up to the heroes that came before us. We cannot allow all of the progress that they battled for to be destroyed. We can’t let the fear of others or greed, selfishness or misunderstanding dismantle our democracy.

Whether we will continue to govern ourselves for the betterment of all in society, as opposed to just a few, is solely up to those of us who live in this country. We must stand up against those people who would take our nation back to a time when an elevated few would change the laws and rules to benefit only themselves and their friends.

Lately, we have seen some concerning signs with the Supreme Court siding against the wishes of the majority of our nation and providing solace to those who choose to manipulate, lie and deceive. This is the first court in decades that is choosing to take the rights away from our society, rather than grant them. Our nation must all stand and vote to protect what we and this fourth of July stand for — a nation free of kings and oligarchs. We must continue to fight for justice, peace and equality. On this July 4th, celebrate those people who stand for you and all of us.

editorial, Independence Day, July 4th