In the midst of all of our “Red, White, and Blue” festivities, we need to remind ourselves that the Fourth is about the celebration of freedom as expressed in the Declaration of Independence.
While we tend to forget the list of grievances we as colonists had against the Mother Country that are enumerated in the Declaration, almost everyone remembers its most significant message: all men are created equal and have certain rights that can’t be taken away–life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Everyone recognizes that the statement was aspirational; specifically it did not include women or slaves who made up a significant percentage of the population in the South.
The history of our country has been a movement towards realizing the liberties that are associated with the Fourth of July. The great compromisers who put together the Constitution and its Bill of Rights could not resolve the contradictions in our stated goal and the practices of society. It took a civil war and hundreds of thousands of deaths to free the slaves and another century of struggle to extend civil rights to persons of color.
Recently, we were starkly reminded of how far we still need to go to expunge racism from our society. The horrific massacre of nine people at a Bible study in Charleston, South Carolina, puts into focus the extent to which some people are willing to go with their Confederate flag and symbols to glorify a conflict that was about a segment of society that was willing to go to war.
They fought to keep their ability to take away life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness as well as the property of others. The Civil War was not about states’ rights; it was about people who wanted to continue a lifestyle and economy on the backs of their slaves which the southern states were willing to allow. If any “rights” were lost in the Civil War, it was a mistaken notion that one should have a right to discriminate against others. The Confederate battle flags need to go down, and our work to end racism needs to intensify.
The Fourth of July was followed in our history by a long list of men and women who worked hard to extend the promises of the Declaration of Independence to everyone. Their work is paying off with the results we saw last week in the Supreme Court decisions on marriage, health care and housing.
Our celebration of the event that happened a long time ago needs this year as much as ever to include a commitment to work for freedom for all, to reject hate and divisions, and to ensure that the inalienable rights of all men and women to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are enjoyed in this country.
Ken Plum represents Reston in Virginia’s House of Delegates. His opinion does not reflect that of Reston Now.
The Barton Hill Recreation Area in Reston is slated for upgrades (via Google Maps) Upgraded lighting is no longer a component of upgrades to the Barton Hill tennis courts in…
Fairfax County Public Schools Fairfax County Public Schools could require parental notifications for class materials deemed sexually explicit, but in a deviation from the state, the proposed policy directly addresses…
A public art piece inspired by the connectivity and energy of atoms has been erected in Reston Town Center’s Hyatt Park. Called “Vidustria,” the installation is drawn from the word…
A man walks by trash bins next to the curb (via Trinity Nguyen on Unsplash) (Updated at 1:25 p.m.) The service and staffing challenges plaguing trash collectors throughout Fairfax County…
The Ravel Dance Studio will re-open for fall classes 2020. The school will offer in person and virtual online instruction. With over 5000 sq. ft. to social distance the school has added air ionization filtration systems, ballet barres, acrylic dividers, hands free bathrooms, strict monitoring and more.
The Ravel Dance Studio will produce a Nutcracker Ballet Hollywood style video through the Reston Community CenterStage. REGISTRATION online begins August 17.
Chris Green is one of the DMV’s finest fitness instructors. A Lululemon and South Block ambassador, he is a coach and mentor to so many. He embodies grace, positivity and motivation in ways that no one else can. If we could all learn a thing or two from him, the world would be a much better place. He does so much for others, and does so with a smile on his face 99% of the time.
He recently ruptured his Achilles and has an incredibly long and tough journey ahead. As if COVID hadn’t impacted fitness professionals enough, throw this in the mix and it’s a double, even triple whammy. CG is no longer able to work and do what he loves for the time being because of this and we’d love your support.