Beyond the fireworks and barbecues, the Fourth of July provides an opportunity for reflection - what does freedom mean to each of us, and how can we show up and take a stand for the things that matter most - related to freedom in our world, and freedom for other humans?
Below, a few types of freedom to consider.
Freedom From Stuff (and the related impact of stuff):
While many of us continue to get rid of items that don't spark joy, thrift stores continue to be overwhelmed with donations. Many thrift stores sell only about 40% of the donations they receive, resulting in excess items being shipped overseas. Meanwhile, only an estimated .1% of clothing collected by charities and take-back programs is recycled into new textile fiber.
An alternative to donating to already overwhelmed thrift stores? Joining a local Buy Nothing Group - where you can "give where you live." Don't see a Buy Nothing group nearby? Neighborhood listservs and the NextDoor app both work for this purpose, as well.
Freedom From Thoughts and Stories that Don't Serve Us:
Try Byron Katie's "The Work." The process? Ask these four questions on any thoughts, stories, or notions that are floating around in your head.
Is it True?
Can I Absolutely Know that It's True?
How do I React When I Think That Thought?
Who Would I Be Without That Thought?
Freedom For Human Beings who are being detained in overcrowded facilities at our borders, without access to basic necessities such as soap, and for children who are being separated from their parents:
Read the reports. Go to the website of the Office of the Inspector General and see the "Latest Reports" section on the front page. Factual reports on what is currently happening at our borders.
Download the Goods Unite Us app to see what causes or politicians you might unintentionally be supporting with your dollars. Search for your grocery stores, your banks, and your services to see where their funds flow.
Make a donation to an organization whose work and mission you resonate with. A few possibilities to explore, if you feel called to do so (Note: several of these organizations identify as "center-leaning,” rather than leaning one way or another politically):
RAICES, to help separated families, detained families, unaccompanied minors, and others who are seeking asylum in the United States.
KIND (Kids in Need of Defense) to protect unaccompanied children.
Al Otro Lado, which helps deportees who lack the Mexican identity documents to obtain housing, employment, and medical care, among other programs.
The Florence Project, which provides free legal and social services to detained men, women, and children under threat of deportation.
Justice In Motion, which works to ensure Justice Across Borders.
Texas Civil Rights Project, which works toward equality and justice.
South Texas Pro Bono Asylum Representation Project, which empowers immigrants through education and representation.
National Immigrant Justice Center, which provides legal services for immigrants.
Contact your elected officials. Get involved locally. Volunteer.
Stay informed. Keep turning in even when it feels easier to look away.
"The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference." - Elie Wiesel