As many of us celebrate freedom this Independence Day, it is important to take a step back and recognize that not everyone living in America has the same freedoms. There are people who do not feel safe in their own homes. There are children who are not free to learn at school due to hunger. Some cannot speak their mind freely for fear of judgment, condemnation and retaliation. People of color feel the need to teach their children how to get through a traffic stop without being killed by law enforcement officials. Immigrant families are living in fear of deportation back to the nations they fled to escape violence and extreme government oppression. There are people in our nation who are being persecuted socially and legally because of their race, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, political beliefs and country of origin.
This fourth of July, celebrate the freedoms you do have but also remember to consider those that others may not have and what you can do to help. If possible, try and support local businesses that are owned by minorities and immigrants.
If you are able to do so, volunteer or donate to a local group that supports people in your own area such as Human Services Programs of Carroll County.
Or cast a broader net and donate to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) that states on their website, "The ACLU works tirelessly in courts, legislatures, and communities to defend and preserve the Constitution’s promise of liberty for everyone in our country." Some of the issues they work on include disability rights, criminal punishment, mass incarceration, racial justice, and reproductive freedom.
Here is a recent piece on the ACLU's response to 45 seeking information on every registered voter in the country.
Another great place to donate to is the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) that lists this under the What We Do tab on their website, "We’re standing up for the powerless, the exploited and other victims of discrimination and hate. For more than four decades, we’ve won landmark cases that brought systemic reforms – toppling remnants of Jim Crow segregation and destroying violent white supremacist groups; shattering barriers to equality for women, vulnerable children, the LGBT community and the disabled; protecting migrant workers from abuse; ensuring the humane treatment of prisoners; reforming juvenile justice practices; and more. Today, with a staff of 75 lawyers and advocates, we’re focused on impact litigation in these practice areas: Children’s Rights, Economic Justice, Immigrant Justice, LGBT Rights, and Criminal Justice Reform .
Here is an update with how the SPLC is helping travelers who may be impacted by parts of the Muslim Ban that have recently taken effect.