US Bank Fireworks n Milwaukee, WI

Independence Day has come and gone for another year. If you celebrated this year thus far with the fireworks, barbecues, day off from work, or any other reason to celebrate the legendary holiday of American Observances, then yes you have been blessed. BUT since the festivities has now been silenced until next year in July, the struggle continues. Many don’t think so. But plenty, we have to realize that of the objective to journey on. 

Dear US Americans (either by birth or by immigrant): It’s me Stephen, an African-American male blogger by hobby, but not by trade.

Happy Birthday America. Another year of our young 238 years has been celebrated, culminated or observed. Yes, we have we have well brought more of our Red, White, and Blue in various ways in terms of celebrations and cookouts. Even most of us have the “Independent Mindset” of takes to be independent among other things. Yes, I do have a confession as an African-American: And I’m using the term “AFRICAN-AMERICAN” Loosely. Not tightly. I do get down with the patriotic side of my Americana talents of decking the house with the RWB, and many others. So yes, I do celebrate Independence Day like everyone else, but I also reflect the observances for those who are no longer here living and also in dedication to those who have struggled for many many years tried to celebrate. Even here in Milwaukee, by going to a July 3rd US Bank Fireworks Show that was most improved. For those who don’t live in Milwaukee, my home city kicks off the 4th of July a day early due to the Lakefront Fireworks near Veterans Park and the Milwaukee Summerfest Grounds.  We do it big here! It’s our annual tradition that goes back to about 1911 in our County Parks.

I don’t mean to demean my own party of observances. During the signing of the Declaration of Independence in the hot July year of 1776, yes I do know and realized that my black people weren’t part of the celebration. They weren’t part of the folks who embraced the unification of the country’s birth due to one thing: Slavery. Many of my African-American compatriots, or brothers and sisters denounced the 4th of July as a farce. Some (not all)  go far by saying “Fourth of YOU-LIE!” based on the reaction of history that is still being talked about amongst us in 2014. Even in the era that we have a Black President in the White House. Speaking of that, Malia Obama just turned 16 on the nation’s b-day. And if you got a birthday on the 4th, or got married on the 4th, hey Happy Birthday and Anniversary. Getting back, the main reminder of the fourth, goes back to Frederick Douglass, when he published his famous writing, “What is the slave to the Fourth of July?” He published that on July 5th, 1862 which is about 162 years in the making. We know what he said. We know how he felt. And there are those today who read that same document have to draw comparisons of what Douglass was feeling in terms of not being included, left out, or not being mentioned or skipped over due to the skin tone and hate of being black. This includes voting rights, civil rights, jobs, health care, economics, living status, immigration rights, and many other factors that is still around. Even racism and other forms of discrimination. Just a reminder I don’t see any utopias!

 

What gets me that, if we are the country that is still on the pulse of all men are created equal, what is about the notions that are not equal? When I hear and see or read about African-Americans get the racism bug, and other folks of non-black had to bust out with the “get over it” speech, what are we are supposed to get over?! Those who say that, need to be in the boots or shoes of us black folks that go through this thing EVERYDAY! This is not some get over it fix. It’s real life on the real here. It’s kind of like were dealing with another version of Jim Crow remixed. Am I right? Or is it some figment of imagination?

Call out: How many of us encountered racism on the 4th? Be honest!

But hold up! How many of us have encountered racism and actually did nothing or something about it? Basic question to ponder. And don’t be like and say as a reminder  “Oh, I’m colorblind.” That’s a farce. When you meet a person of a different race, yes YOU WILL see color. And when you go home, same thing. When that encounters, it’s another reminder that America as young and old as is need to improve. Just to think that the figures of Dr. Maya Angelou, Ruby Dee, and even Bobby Womack and among others are not here to reappear. I know that many are about to break out the wise words of Dr. King in his I Have A Dream Speech. That one line that everyone knows. BUT: I advise by reading the entire speech!

Back to me celebrating in all: Yes I do celebrate the 4th. I celebrate for me, my family, my American values. Plus I celebrate my earned opportunity of Independence, Liberty, and the right to blog what I want on WordPress. Even my work. Even my church. Even my Alumni groups that contribute each year. And my community ideas and concerns of improvement. I even celebrate for my black folks who were slaves that got whipped, shackled, branded by force, beaten up and even killed in trying to get that one word etched: Freedom.

I also realized that Freedom is not free. It’s not. That is harder to work for because, there are obstacles everyday no matter what we go through. And I hope those of my culture and as many other cultures have to realize the similar notions. No shade. No generational cards. So in closing: We can celebrate. We can observe. BUT: like Melissa Harris-Perry’s father always says, and I believe him: the struggle continues.

Sincerely, (and Independently, patriotically rightfully so)

Stephen

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