Over the last several years I have thought a great deal about this word. It has so many variations in what it means to each of us. To a prisoner it means one thing, to a domestic violence victim who flees her abuser it means something completely different. It fascinates me how one word can have such power and universal meanings.
On this 4th of July, we celebrate America’s freedom as a collective consciousness. For most, it means fireworks, hamburgers, hotdogs & pool time with friends and family. Though...for many others that fought for our freedom it means so much more. I know we typically think of this word in this context though the word holds value all year round and for many other things.
On this holiday I want to express what this means to me and give you something to ponder for yourselves. I embrace and celebrate the fact that I live in a country where free expression is a right and I am so grateful for that though this is THE time to bring to the light that this nation still is not as a collective “FREE” where they experience “FREEDOM”. From LGBTQ rights to minorities being validated as equals and this really disturbs me. I believe we have come a long way though I do not think we are close to the day where when those fireworks go off EVERYONE FEELS FREE TO BE WHO THEY ARE!
One side of my family is Cherokee Indian and so many of them still to this day suffer with the awful realities of their land being taken and for generations have suffered through poverty. Without getting political, I believe each and every one of us has a responsibility to love our neighbor, regardless their race, creed, religion etc. and we need to become beings of love and not judgement. I must say that these last several holidays have not felt as patriotic as when I was more naïve and out of tune with how many of our fellow Americans are not “FREE” and do not experience that same “FREEDOM” that the songs are written about.
The definition of “FREEDOM” is the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint. It is interesting that this is still left to interpretation when in reality it is very clear. I sincerely look forward to a day when we can ALL experience what this word truly means and what it really feels like as a state of being!
I have a challenge for all of you and it is this, ask yourself this holiday… “What does freedom mean to me and what can I do in my community to ensure that those that do not have that same right can be supported to achieve that. What role can you play to bridge that gap? Maybe it is joining a nonprofit to help victims of domestic violence or sex trafficking, maybe it is donating to a Veterans group that assists fallen soldiers, perhaps helping those with disabilities or the transgender community. Whatever it is, jump in and do your part to be a part of the solution so that this dynamic and powerful word can be said with pride for ALL of us!