contributor: Harmony Pilobello
Read time: 2.5 minutes
This fourth of July, we will be reflecting deeply on how we can contribute to lasting change and urge our representatives to take immediate action. The recent overturning of Roe v. Wade and SCOTUS narrowing the United States Environmental Protective Agency's Clean Air Act has put our democracy and planet in danger. It has left us reflecting on how patriotism is evolving and needs to be more representative of our times.
Every year, the colors of the American flag are shared across the United States as people celebrate Independence Day. A historical moment that primarily benefitted cis White men in the 18th century. As defined by Merriam-Webster, patriotism has patriarchal Greek origins deriving from the word patrios meaning "of one's father". It is also often associated with war topics, and 18th-century American writers embraced the term to describe colonists who took a stance against British control. We grow up singing nationalistic songs, ignoring the undertones of religious affiliation and overt racism. Our educational system teaches us to associate the word with being a good citizen, but mainly through the scope of centering white men.
So, how can we redefine patriotism to have a more inclusive lens?
Black abolitionists from the 1840s have already paved the way for us. They were reshaping the way America celebrated independence by challenging White Americans to reflect on injustices left unseen (i.e., slavery, treatment of Native Americans, etc.). While I have found myself increasingly doing this for every American holiday, it feels especially relevant for people to do this upcoming Fourth of July. In addition to reflecting on those injustices, here are five different ways people can take action this holiday weekend:
- Time – volunteer this weekend either locally or virtually. There are many organizations already hard at work to protect reproductive health. Many of them are in overdrive right now and actively seeking volunteers.
- Money - donate to a cause. We are raising funds for Midwest Access Coalition on Instagram and collectively matching up to $750 with other small businesses.
- Resources – In my humble opinion, emotional support and a safe place to sleep are underrated in this fight for reproductive justice. Look for ways to be an ally to friends in red states.
- Expansion of SCOTUS
- End the Senate filibuster
- Repeal the Hyde Amendment
- Codify Roe, same-sex marriage, right to contraception, and interracial marriage.
5. Talk to your loved ones.
At Alterre, we celebrate diversity and are advocates of equality for all people. We support reproductive justice as a form of social and economic empowerment. We encourage our community to redefine patriotism this holiday weekend through action and self-reflection. The need for change is now.