In the spirit of July 4th and it being “freedom” month here at DORÉ, we felt it important to take a reflective moment and ask ourselves: What does “freedom” mean to me/ us/ you?
It’s a question that Veronica pondered in her Editor’s Letter on Monday. She spoke of her disillusionment with the American conception of “freedom” and the ways in which our country’s actions aren’t living up to our supposed morals. I couldn’t have said it better myself. So, instead of trying, I’ll direct you to read it here.
But, I believe that the exercise of asking ourselves this question is really important. In taking the time to define what “freedom” means to us, we’re confronted with our own agency–our own shortcomings, and the distance we have to traverse in order to get to our ideal.
With that being said, I rounded up team DORÉ’s responses in hopes of inspiring your own. While you have your families gathered around the BBQ today, use this as a conversation starter. Why not spice things up with a little critical reflection? ;)
So… what does freedom mean to you? And, in what ways can we expand our definitions of freedom to be more inclusive? To work harder for everyone? To ensure that we see the values that our nation was founded on actually take effect in our current political systems? Just think about it… and have a happy 4th!
Veronica | @veromcc
In a nutshell, to me freedom is the right to dissent, BUT due to the recent rise of anti-semitism (and persistent racism / sexism in this country) I will add a caveat–freedom is the right to dissent when said dissension does not inflict harm on others. In the meantime, I’ll be over here eagerly waiting for RBG to don her “dissenting collar.”
Emily | @emnote
To me, being truly free means being able to live your truth—to be you, openly and honestly. The big “but” though, is that freedom comes with responsibility—if your freedom makes others suffer, then you have to be able to bare the consequences of that.
Nathan | @nathanlemburg
Freedom to me is the ability to be yourself in your truest form. It’s being able to make your own choices and control the agency over your own life. And while I know I’ve been privileged enough to have my own freedoms in life, I know that’s not normal for many all over the world. A part of celebrating my own freedom means doing what I can to help others find their own freedom.
Mary | @_marebear_
Freedom to me means limitless opportunities and possibilities. And for everyone to have equal access to said opportunities.
Caitlin | @caitlinvillarreal
Freedom is a powerful, inspiring, wonderful (and often), intimidating word. To me, Freedom is the privilege of liberty and independence. But what you do with Freedom, how you choose to exercise and respect it — is what really matters.
Christina | @christina_holevas
This is a heavy question! But I guess, to me, freedom means the freedom to be yourself, whoever that is. For all to feel safe in their bodies and supported in their identities is a necessity for freedom to be achieved.
Bogdana | @Bogdanaya
For a long time, whenever I thought of freedom, I imagined it to be the ability to travel. I’m not talking about booking fancy hotels and such. Just to move freely around the world and not be restricted by finances or government restrictions (unsurprising aspirations coming from the person who needs a visa to even think about traveling).
Recently, I realized that a major thing I like about travel is the learning curve. Learning about different places and cultures, especially when you’re not staying at the fancy hotel, but infusing yourself in the local environment.
I think ignorance is our biggest foe. It makes it easy to dehumanize somebody we see as different, makes it easy for us to hate them, and to ignore our own problems.
I wish we never stopped learning history–so we could remember what mistakes were made in the past and how to not repeat them. I wish we learned more about other people’s lives to be able to see their point of view. I wish we knew everything about the earth we walk on, to be able to prevent its destruction.
I wish only highly intelligent and empathetic people were in charge of our countries…
Oh, well, since we’re on the topic, it would be cool to have so much freaking knowledge that we could just make robots (eco-friendly only) to do all the hard work for us, and sip margaritas (health-enhancing ones) on beautiful everlasting beaches (with the happiest dolphins jumping in the water) all the time. Wouldn’t that be hella fun??