Dear Editor – We Are Here

Dear Editor, 

It’s obvious isn’t it, we’re all hurting right now. How did we get here?

Almost one hundred and sixty years ago, a republican president so declared “that all persons held as slaves are, and henceforward shall be free; and that the Executive government of the United States, including the military and naval authorities thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of said persons.”

Seventy two years ago, the leaders of the great nations of the world gathered in Paris, France, and so decreed that All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood. That everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.

And yet, and yet, we are here.

America, our America, is a country of contradiction. We declare ourselves the Land of the Free, yet for more than half our existence we’ve enslaved our people, and continue to incarcerate at high rates. We call ourselves “The Mother of Exiles” yet we build walls to shut out those seeking refuge. We degree that we are free to speak, yet we are constantly being silenced when we scream about injustice. We send our soldiers to foreign lands and chide them for their human rights violations when in our very streets our government servants are violating us with impunity. We proudly shout that we will not stand for tyranny, yet our leadership has declared that those who fight against fascism are terrorists!

When George Floyd was lynched in front of our eyes, all those massive contradictions, all those untruths fed to us for centuries, all those monochromatic images of Black people enslaved, brutalized, murdered in a distant age were suddenly thrust into our reality in high definition color, streaming from data signals into the palms of out hands and THAT is why we are here today America! We’ve had enough.

We’ve had enough of the liars who whisper “racism does not exist”. We are exhausted from banging on glass ceilings while our contemporaries sneer “there’s nothing there.” We are tired of seeing our loved ones brutalized by monsters who openly walk amongst us, only for our leaders to call them “very fine people.”

We can no longer hide, we can no longer silence ourselves for fear of retribution. We, cannot escape the heavy reality that has long been ignored until it literally appeared in our hands. WE must act.

In a few weeks time we will be celebrating the birth of our nation, and what better way to remind the world of our place as the oldest continuous democracy by renewing the vows that were made on that summer day in 1776.

It is disheartening to think, that after two hundred and forty four years, Americans have to once again stand up and fight for freedom. Our freedom, from tyranny, oppression, and persecution — and from annihilation. We’re fighting for our right to live, to exist, to matter. For as it has become crystal clear, there are those in our great nation that seek to undermine our very lives, and as our founding fathers so declared that fateful summer day: “He whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.”

We demand accountability. We demand responsibility. We demand that our government go back to those signed and notarized documents and re-read the fine print: that these self-evident truths that have been reaffirmed time and time again must be upheld. That all men are created equal. That all human beings are endowed with the unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it.

From the fourth of July 1776 into perpetuity. From the Six Nations to the Thirteen Colonies to the 50 States and dependent territories, to all the democratic countries in this world birthed into existence from the ideals that manifested on this land. We, are and always will be: The United States of America.

From the mouths of eagles came “E Pluribus Unum” from the hands of farm workers came “Isang Baksak” Out of many, we are one. When one rises, we all rise. When one falls, we all fall. And when one of us falls it is the duty of the collective spirit to lift them up and to advocate on their behalf, for in the words of Dr. King: their destiny is tied up with our destiny, their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom.” For we cannot truthfully say we are “One Nation, Indivisible” when we allow a whole facet of our society to feel like their lives do not matter.

To all of those out marching today, and everyday, to fight for justice and equality: I commend you. You are the embodiment of the very ideals of our nation and I implore you to continue to carry them on into the future. You ARE your Ancestor’s wildest dreams come true, and you must continue to rise, you must continue to fight, you must continue to hold the establishment accountable until everything that is guaranteed to you by the laws of our land, our country and our world, become justly and righteously yours.

Let us continue to fight for a free world, to do away with hate, intolerance, greed and lies. Let us continue to fight for a world of reason, a world where science, technology and progress can coexist with ancestral knowledge and lead to happiness for all humanity.

Let us continue to reaffirm our place among the nations of this Earth, and let them know that despite who lives on the high house on the hill, we the people are willing and ready to reignite that torch of imprisoned lightning and prove that beyond that golden door is not a darkened hall of despair, but a great and mighty Nation willing to rise and stand together for liberty and justice, for all.

In the name of democracy. In the name of humanity. Keep fighting America. I salute you.

Natasia Gascon

www.culvercitysymphony.org

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