Random #RozeReflections: The Fourth of July

“Fellow-citizens; above your national, tumultuous joy, I hear the mournful wail of millions! whose chains, heavy and grievous yesterday, are, to-day, rendered more intolerable by the jubilee shouts that reach them. If I do forget, if I do not faithfully remember those bleeding children of sorrow this day, “may my right hand forget her cunning, and may my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth!” To forget them, to pass lightly over their wrongs, and to chime in with the popular theme, would be treason most scandalous and shocking, and would make me a reproach before God and the world.” - Frederick Douglass

I read Frederick Douglass’s speech, ‘What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?’, every year on July 4th. As I read it today, I imagine that the question he posits as the title of his speech can be expanded to read, “What to the Slave, the Immigrant, the Child in a Detention Center, the Jailed simply because there is not money to post bail or the Jailed because of racist systems and structures, the Poor, the Homeless, the Person of Color, the Woman, the LGBTQ+ person, the Differently abled, is the Fourth of July?”

I call that which is prophetic that which stands the test of time. Douglass was a prophet and his words are necessary to remind us from where we’ve come and where we are headed again if we don’t heed the lessons of our past. 

I’m the midst of everything else today, spend some time reflecting on this work and these questions:

  • What is freedom if all have not experienced liberation? 

  • Can the collective be free if there those among us who are in bondage? 

  • How might we embody the freedom that our Founding Fathers so famously spoke of, fought for, and cast a vision of?

  • Where does our freedom impede on the freedom of others?

  • How might we fight for liberation rather than mere freedom?