What am I celebrating on the 4th of July?

and a caution about fireworks

Here in Illinois, we have reached Stage 4 in the Restore Illinois plan.  People feel free, rather than imprisoned and there is a level of excitement that has not existed for months. I can feel a buzz in the air as folks make plans reconnect with friends and family.

Yet, I’m wondering if this excitement means we have lost touch with the original meaning of the 4th of July.

We fought to have a voice. We fought for independence. And we fought for equality

How many of us remember the aspirations outlined in the Preamble to the Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

I am particularly struck by the statement “all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their creator.

I can’t help but think that our collective creator, whomever or whatever that may be to you, meant “men” to be an all-inclusive word. Yet, we know our country was also founded by and through oppression.

I, like many of you, experience dissonance when I think about our values compared to our history, our legacy.

All people hold value and are valuable. We are, at the core, the same. We all strive for connection.  It gives meaning to our lives and helps us find our place.  Doesn’t that mean we’re equal? Doesn’t this mean we deserve opportunities on an equal basis?

The fact that some continue to answer “no” means we must keep working and evolving individually and collectively. We need to continue to honor and fight for that freedom and equality. Fight the shame that comes with racism (and all the “isms”).

Become an agent of change for equality.

Over the weekend I am going to be that agent by reading White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo. I also commit to being an agent for change by watching movies and documentaries that shed light on issues of oppression.

By diving into my discomfort, and holding myself accountable for my racist thoughts and actions, I hope to open that door for you. I invite you to join me on this journey of self-reflection and change.

How will you be an agent of change?

What risks are you willing to take?

Before I go, I do feel it is important to remind everyone to be aware of our soldiers this 4th of July weekend.  While many typically enjoy amazing fireworks shows and some partake in personal fireworks, please remember the sounds of fireworks is often very triggering for our soldiers.  Please be considerate of our heroes, who fight for our independence, and re-think using fireworks.  Thank you!

Dr. Irgang
Dr. Lisa Irgang is a Clinical Psychologist and the Owner of Relationship Solutions Center. She provides a variety of services to meet her clients needs. Dr. Lisa has worked with people throughout Chicagoland, helping with adjusting to significant life changes, ADHD, Alternative Sexualities, Anxiety Disorders, Bipolar Disorder, Dealing with Chronic Illness, Depression, Low self-esteem, Parenting special needs children, Relationship concerns, and Trauma. She's a graduate of Argosy University Chicago and a Fellow at CLII - Collaborative Law Institute of Illinois.

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