July is the month we celebrate freedom, liberty, and justice for all. Every year, we wait for July 4th to set off our fireworks, take road trips, enjoy symbolic BBQs, and profess our love for a country where “at least we know we’re free.” We rock our red, white, and blue outfits and accessories to represent our patriotism. 

But, can we honestly say that America is the land of the free? Can every individual in the good old U.S count on this country for opportunities, just laws, and due process?  

Doubtful!

The sad reality for BIPOC Americans or those that are born with the ability to birth children is that the concept of freedom is hard to believe in. Just when Americans are beginning to feel like they can safely emerge from the trauma of the COVID pandemic and the following restraints of masks, lockdowns, and forced vaccinations, suddenly, we’re hit with several other bombshells that are a thousand times worse. 

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It seems we can’t even turn on the television these days without witnessing a number of mass shootings taking place in schools, nightclubs, grocery stores, parades…the list goes on. Events that were once created to bring people together and celebrate cultural differences and equality are now places of fear and anxiety. The idea of large crowds coming together was once considered fun and exciting but may now induce panic attacks or more detrimental physical and mental health effects at the mere thought of them. It’s enough to make you isolate yourself and wonder, is there safety anywhere? I myself, need breaks from the media from time to time as it all becomes too overwhelming and frightening. 

As if mass murders and ongoing hate crimes weren’t enough to drive anyone to therapy, we face another harsh reality. Individuals with life-producing reproductive organs are now being forced to carry unwanted pregnancies to full-term due to the overturning of Roe v. Wade. Even a child as young as 10 years old is denied an abortion in her home state due to the hard and fast rules that have been put in place; the fact that she was raped by an adult abuser didn’t matter to those in power. 

In a country where it is becoming increasingly difficult to walk out of your front door in fear that your life or liberties will be taken away, there’s no wonder many don’t feel truly free during this month of independence. 

Sure, we go to our bonfires, drink from red plastic cups full of intoxicating elixirs, and attend all the best parties to celebrate what this country is supposed to stand for freedom, justice, and opportunity for all. But in a country where vintage thinking reigns supreme and injustice still wins the day, how is it expected that any one of us should feel free?

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It’s now become law in Arizona that a citizen can’t even record a police interaction within eight feet of an incident, or they will be fined. With brown and black bodies being dragged through the streets or even slaughtered like cattle with all too-easy-to-purchase firearms, where is the justice? For individuals with life-producing internal organs being forced into childbirth—no matter the circumstances, where is freedom? 

Daily, the rights of Americans are being stripped away, but somehow, we’re supposed to be patriotic and proud of this land, this place where all people are supposed to be created equal. However, that is not true for those that are pregnant and don’t want to be. That is not true for those with a darker complexion. That is not true for those that are different than what is considered heteronormative. 

What about individuals just trying to enjoy a day outside with family and friends? They don’t have a choice in whether to be or not to be slaughtered by senseless gunfire. 

During July, the month we celebrate independence, is there any wonder that many call into question what we’re even celebrating? With no protection in place and no true justice for all, America is feeling more and more like the land of the oppressed rather than the land of the free.