Welcome to July! When I think of July, fireworks and BBQ are on the top of my brain. We celebrate July 4th, and the founding of America about 245 years ago. We celebrate independence and freedom. Today we live in unusual times. And we are confronted with competing visions of independence and freedom.
Independence and freedom are two of our most revered American values, our most celebrated virtues. And two that, in these uncertain time, seem to more and more divide us as a nation.
As an emPOWERment self-defense teacher, I hold these truths to be self-evident: That all people are equally human. That we all have rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That we are entitled to a representative government to safeguard and enforce these rights. And we are entitled to organize and advocate for change when our elected officials fall short.
As an emPOWERment self-defense teacher, I very strongly believe that any “information” that encourages you to make someone else’s life smaller, based on their race/gender expression/ethnicity/sexual orientation/nationality/etc., is neither useful nor empowering to you, nor to anyone else.
As an emPOWERment self-defense teacher, I very strongly believe that everyone deserves safety, regardless of their political beliefs. But the harm that has been codified, institutionalized, and currently enforced upon broad swaths of our people, is not in keeping with our foundational values.
And, as an emPOWERment self-defense teacher, I say you do not have to relinquish your power. You do have power. Alice Walker has said, “The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.” Keep in mind that nobody will give you power — you need to take it (I believe Frederick Douglass said something like that). (We can help you practice and hone many of these skills.)
Please continue contacting your elected officials, singularly or en masse, to ask them to use the power we entrusted to them to end these policies of purposefully traumatizing and harming our communities. Protest. Donate. Participate.
You may need to remind your fellow citizens too, on occasion, that you have the right to live in peace and dignity. Sad, but unusual times brings out the best in some people and the worst in others.
Independence isn’t a once-and-done deal, sealed with the signing of a piece of parchment. It wasn’t perfect then, it’s not perfect now, it probably never will be perfect. We are a work in progress, we are not absolved from working on progress. And we have a long way to go.
Stay safe, live life.