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Reflections on Independence Day

I'm angry, and I don't want to be.

Today is July 4, and although I had plans for a quiet (sort of) day, I know many have plans for celebration. Especially lots of fireworks and bbq.

But today, a shooting happened in a nearby town, and celebrations throughout the county are being canceled. And rightfully so!

But I'm angry because the fear this has caused here and around the country is unnecessary. At times like these, I feel the most at a loss for words.

I remember fantastic July 4 celebrations as a kid. Picnics, parades, sparklers, and favorite - snakes (the firework, not the reptile). I loved hearing the marching bands, seeing the dancers, horses, and catching candy thrown by everyone.

It was always too hot, but there were plenty of push-pops, paleteros, and a few open fire hydrants. Running around the park with cousins, playing frisbee or tag, and even an uncle making lechon for everyone.

And now, it is more challenging in this century to have these types of gatherings. We keep hoping this violence won't happen to us or near us. And even when it isn't near us, like Uvalde, we are deeply affected. I have felt devasted by the news of another shooting, another right stripped away, another race-related death, or another business destroyed.

Not everyone is skilled at expressing fear, sadness, anger, and joy. I can write reports, contracts, plans, and more without hesitation. As a natural introvert sharing my deep feelings at these events is a little more challenging. I imagine that many others have the same feeling.

So here is my quick thought:

~ We all have feelings about the various tragedies

~ Remember that some of us take a little longer to process these feelings

~ Not posting an emotional, moving piece on social media does not mean someone doesn't care or doesn't have an opinion

~ When tragedy occurs, anywhere, we all need space to process or find community

On Independence Day, save space to remember those who cannot celebrate today. Hold space for those communities rocked by violence. And celebrate your joys with friends and family. Happy Independence Day.



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