Today, many people across the U.S. will celebrate Independence Day with parades, parties, cookouts, and fireworks. Yet in the legacy of Frederick Douglas – abolitionist, escaped slave, and orator – it is crucial to remember that many in our nation do not experience with the full expressions of freedom we are quick to celebrate. In 1852, he gave a speech entitled, “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” I commend this to our reading today.
Today, may we remember and advocate for people who do not live with an abiding sense of freedom — indigenous people who have encountered genocide and lost land; black and brown people enduring mass incarceration and labor inside of for-profit prison systems, immigrants who are currently living in the shadows; and people who fear violence and loss of life from the state.
Along with these, we also remember people who do not have full access to the voting booth. All week long, I am engaging an exploration of voting rights and voter suppression. We know that our nation has a long history of blocking people from the right to vote. In the last three years, we have seen renewed efforts that have led to massive amounts of voter suppression, particularly targeted against people of color and people in poor communities.
Today, let’s hear from people who have been directly affected by this history and by these recent efforts to suppress votes. Each link below is a video to a personal testimony:
See also, the other posts from this series: