We chose “freedom” for July’s editorial theme at the beginning of the year (for the obvious reasons), but now, reading that word makes me sick to my stomach.
This week we celebrate our country’s freedom and independence, and yet we continuously deny that same deserved freedom to asylum seekers, immigrants, and refugees.
And for those who want to stop reading, out of apprehension that their own vacations / BBQs / firework viewing might be tainted, I think it’s more imperative than ever to bear witness to what is happening.
I didn’t want to look at the photo of Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez and his twenty-three-month-old daughter, but I forced myself to. I forced myself to confront the present realities of our country and its supposed “freedom” because, in the words of Bob Dylan, “How many years can some people exist, before they’re allowed to be free? And how many times can a man turn his head, pretending he just doesn’t see?”
But most importantly, I took action by donating to causes such as Raices, American Civil Liberties Union and United We Dream (but there are many, many more), and calling my representatives. Don’t know your representative? Input your zip code here, and then look up their phone number here. Calling is the most effective, but if, let’s say, you work in a silent zoned library, here is an online template to fill out and email to your representative. We rattle off too many emails in a day without breaking a sweat, everyone should be able to send one more of this importance.
We want DORÉ to be a reprieve from the world, a place where you can exhale, but there are certain things one should not reprieve themselves from. This is one of them.
So while I thought about changing July’s editorial theme in light of our country’s and politician’s actions, I decided instead to use it as an opportunity to discuss the fallacy of freedom in this country at the moment. We will discuss other types of freedom in the upcoming month — the joy of road trips, breaking away from a traditional family model, the freedom of consuming less, and yes, even the American summer pastime of baseball, but before all that, and before we all put up our “out of office” replies in our inbox, let’s take a moment to be grateful for our freedom, and help others obtain the same that is deserved to them.