I'm just mad my dad is too afraid to hang.
  1. For July 4th my family likes to venture out to the MoG, and watch the same lady sing various country songs, as we people watch, and stand among hundreds of other people who have come to settle in America, "The Lands of Dreams."
  2. We, the hundreds of people who venture out to celebrate freedom, freedom's that have taken years for the soon-to-be majority to acquire. Freedoms many continue to fight for. This freedom, that rang in the ears of oppressed people's in poorer countries, flooded the gates, this idea seeded in their minds of a nation where
    Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness are givens. They were thrown into this package called "The American Dream." But we failed to read the fine print, that said, the whiter your skin, the more Life, Liberty and Happiness will be distributed to you. We were fooled, but we celebrate freedom anyways, because after renouncing our ties to the countries that raised us, why not celebrate the freedom to celebrate?
  3. When the sun begins to set and the country lady has sang her last cover song, my family and everyone with dreams of a better life wander into the parking lot to watch the fireworks we have come to associate with our freedom.
  4. The audio prefacing the fireworks are pretty much ingrained in my brain. It starts off with audio clips from Martin Luther King Jr's "I Have a Dream" speech and transitions into that song about the mountain. It plays Sweet Home Alabama, and Georgia's own Ray Charles "On My Mind" booms.
    Imagine being told the concert you're going to play will be white-only. Imagine being fined for breaching of contract after walking off. Imagine.
  5. The last few minutes of the firework show, playing alongside the Star-Spangled Banner fill us up with patriotism. The sky turning into daylight, "and the home" the fireworks booming into our chest, "of the free", momentarily deafening, "and the home" building up to its climatic end, "of the brave."
  6. And just as quickly as this never-ending spew of booming fireworks began it ends. Its end, leaves the audience in awe and in silence. This brief moment of silence, I've associated with everyone's one moment of freedom. The silence ends as we applaud the freedom we wish we were privileged enough to be born into. We applaud. We are thankful.
  7. However, this year we won't continue with the Romero family tradition because of La Situación.
    La Situación is not good. La Situación is a phrase that my family uses only to define the overall situation of things, which is never uttered with a positive intonation. No, La Situación means that overall things are not good, they're bad.
  8. La Situación is this: the overall climate of intolerance is brewing and boiling. As Latinx living in the South, our kind is not welcome, given that the lovely Trump won my state. These facts, and our gun culture makes a large gathering of people looking to have some innocent fun a breeding ground for malicious intent.
  9. You see, MoG, the place we frequent for July 4th, was recently threatened to be the next target for more statistics, prayers, and governmental indifference.
  10. We shared this news to my father and he said, "it's probably better we just stay home this year, because la situación isn't good."
  11. We all nodded silently to one another. There was no need to elaborate, we all knew what he meant.
  12. Our one day as a nation to come together as free, and equal will not happen. We are limiting ourselves in order to protect ourselves as a result of the fear from the words people are no longer afraid to share and act on. We are afraid that celebrating our freedom to celebrate will result in disaster. We are afraid and we are free.
    My tone in the beginning doesn't sound like someone who is extremely excited to celebrate July 4th. I am though, it's this weird duality I experience every year. The fact that I am both American & a child of immigrants. The fact that I am privileged as a result of my status as an American. I struggle with July 4th, because I see what being undocumented does, I see what being black does, I see it & it's hard for me to celebrate freedom when I'm aware that freedom is a privilege not a right.
  13. I know we shouldn't let this our fears dictate how we celebrate. I know that, but I can't help but feel like my dads feelings are valid. It only takes one person.
    I mean, idk, I have this shitty feeing in the pit of my stomach and this and everything going on here and around the world isn't helping.