Happy Fourth of July! Independence day is when the Colonies’ Second Continental Congress adopted the final draft of the Declaration of Independence. This resource provides background about the History of Independence Day from PBS. Often, celebrations include time with family and friends, bonfires, fireworks, barbeques, picnics, and parades. The pandemic has made celebrations look differently. While we are not physically celebrating together, there are more opportunities for intimate gatherings. When planning celebrations for the 4th and other major events throughout the summer, adjusting typical celebration plans will be essential by following the CDC guidelines.
Songs, such as “God Bless the USA” by Lee Greenwood, express pride and gratitude for being an American citizen. As Greenwood alludes to, Americans embrace many freedoms that set us apart from other countries around the world. The lyrics honor those who have given their lives for the liberties we treasure today. As our nation suffers from health, social and economic crises, American nationalism is at an all-time low based on a recent Gallop poll. While lack of control due to pandemic and protests may be impacting these numbers, it is important to discuss these feelings of uncertainty and find ways that you can help your community.
For many, how we experience freedom in the United States depends on our race, gender and sexuality. Those who have given their lives in history for this nation have come in different races, genders and sexualities. Michael Smerconish on CNN questioned if the poll asked the right question. We may not be proud of America currently due to many factors, but, as he describes, we may be proud to be an American overall.
We are continuing to take steps in the right direction. Just-celebrated Juneteenth, a celebration of the emancipation of slavery, is considered the second American independence day. This year, many large corporations including Target, Nike, Adobe, Citigroup, and Twitter recognized it as a paid holiday. Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that June 19th will be an official New York state holiday starting in 2021. State workers were given the day off this year. Virginia's governor, Ralph Northam, is also proposing making it a paid state holiday.
The month of June is Pride month celebrating the LGBTQIA community. Fifty-one years ago, on June 28 to July 3rd, the Stonewall Riots created a lasting impact. These riots inspired a civil rights movement. In June 1970, one year after the riots, New York’s first Pride parade began. When recounting information about the riots and parades, Evelyn Hammonds, Harvard chair of the Department of the History of Science, mentions this parade as the first visible public event where people could freely express their sexuality and for allies to support others. Today, Pride celebrations continue throughout the month of June.
While there is still work that needs to be done in the US, progress is being made. Continue to educate oneself, to listen to others, and to be proactive. This further weaves us together into one nation.
Once again, we at Cold FAid™ wish you a safe and happy Fourth of July!