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Thoughts about a different July 4th

July 4th, 2020 is like no Independence Day before. COVID-19 has disrupted our parades, family gatherings, and fireworks festivals.

Maybe this is the right time for a different way to observe July 4th.  The economic downtown caused by COVID hit our economy hard, especially people who were already struggling.  Hunger in the Dayton area is increasing and people worry about how they will pay their rent. Our nation is embroiled in a contentious debate about racism, injustice, police violence, and inequity. We struggle with the promise of America versus reality. That promise is spelled out the Declaration of Independence guaranteeing “certain unalienable rights that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” We know those words bought prosperity and freedom to millions.

But for countless Americans, those same words have been empty promises. Too many are denied opportunity because of the color of their skin, their gender, their country of origin, who they love, the yarmulke or hijab they wear, the wheelchair they use. Our challenge this July 4th is to build an America that keeps its promises to everyone. The first step is to listen to those who have been left out of the American dream.  Try to understand their hopes and their fears.


Then reflect, pray, meditate on your role. What can you do to make your community, your country more just? Make a commitment to one action to promote justice – volunteer, register people to vote, participate in a community organization, read about a social issue, and share what you learn.  Pick ONE ACTION and make a commitment to do your part to build a better America.

We may not all be in the same boat, but we are all in the same storm. By working together, we can come emerge a stronger, more just nation. This July 4th, let’s be thankful for the blessings of liberty and commit to building an America where those blessings are shared by all.

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