While we celebrate our hard won independence from Britain and enjoy time spent with our families, lets dedicate ourselves to embracing and uplifting all Americans.
True independence for all Americans has been a long time in coming. The beautiful words of our founding fathers that “all men are created equal” represented an ideal whose time had not yet come – not then and not now.
Some of our founding fathers were slave owners. So certainly blacks weren’t created equal. Blacks weren’t given the right to vote until 1869 but were intimidated and threatened from exercising their rights as newly freed people. It wasn’t until the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that blacks could safely vote.
As for women, they weren’t given the privilege of voting until 1920 following many battles by some very courageous women. To this day women still aren’t fully equal with many still earning less than their male counterparts in the workplace.
The native peoples of ‘turtle island’ were stripped of their entire way of life and forced onto reservations. Our 4th of July celebrations have a different meaning to native peoples and few of us are sensitive to that. Native Americans weren’t granted American citizenship until 1924 and not given the vote until 1948. To this day there are reservations in which native peoples are living in utter poverty.
Chinese immigrants to our country who worked so hard in our cities and upon our railroads weren’t given citizenship and the right to vote until 1943. Many other groups of people including Irish-Catholics and Muslims have suffered prejudice and suspicion.
Next week your spouse may be involved in a serious car accident and yet the gay ER doctor who saves your spouse’s life cannot marry their loved one or adopt children. Gays are not equal to other Americans. They are sub-Americans.
Following recent immigration reforms, Hispanic Americans feel unwelcome and worse yet, unwanted. An entire group of people with a rich history and who have contributed so much to our nation feel unwanted?
What has happened to our great American melting pot? If we are “one nation under God” then diversity is to be fully embraced and celebrated. Its evident that our Beloved Creator loves diversity – look at all the many forms of living and non-living things He created. It is only the intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually impoverished among us who fear diversity. To love is to embrace it.
As we contemplate the history of our nation, lets make the idea of equality for all Americans a reality. Therein lies our greatness as a people.
Peace to all
For those of you in the Phoenix area, the Heard Museum has a wonderful collection of Native American artifacts. The museum is located at 2301 N. Central Ave. Phoenix, AZ 85004. For more information call (602) 252-8344 or check out their website at: www.heard.org