Why Black Americans Should Still Celebrate This Independence Day

If we aren’t fully free, how do we celebrate this country’s freedom?

Next Monday, Americans all over the world will celebrate Independence Day, the day the thirteen colonies declared their independence from the British crown. On July 5th, 1852, however, Frederick Douglass was not in celebratory mood. In a speech to the Ladies’ Antislavery Society, Douglass discussed the history of Independence Day and acknowledged the bravery of the founders. But he had an important question for his audience, “Are the great principles of political freedom and of natural justice, embodied in that Declaration of Independence, extended to us?” This question still resonates today.

Read Alice Walker’s Powerful Poem Inspired By Jesse Williams’ BET Awards Speech

Activists, viewers, and commentators around the country have been talking about Jesse Williams’ iconic speech he gave at the BET Awards this past Sunday. Williams was awarded the Humanitarian of the Year award and spoke candidly about his passion around the preservation of Black lives. Even folks like the acclaimed poet Alice Walker were taken with his words. In his honor, she wrote the poem “Here It Is.”

The poem is important because it highlights the ways that Williams’ skin and eye color does not exclude him from Blackness. Read the full poem below.

On Being Biracial In The Movement For Black Lives

Sometimes I feel like people see me like they see Rachel Dolezal. Yeah, her.

As a biracial woman (half Black, half white) from the suburbs, whose features are not predominately “Black”, I find myself in a constant battle with myself as I try to figure out if fighting for equity and the uplift of the Black community is something I should act on – or even speak on – knowing that by doing so I am taking up space that should be reserved for darker-skinned Black people who cannot necessarily pass for anything else.

Simone Biles Is The Magical Black Girl Dominating Women’s Gymnastics

In the traditions of Dominique Dawes and Gabby Douglas, another black girl is ruling women’s gymnastics. Simone Biles could be the best gymnasts of all time, according to both her peers and her stack of medals from the US National Championships this weekend—her fourth straight all-around win, a feat no one has achieved in 42 years.

Jesse Williams Drops the Mic at The BET Awards

Jesse Williams has earned the name “activist bae” for many reasons. He is active on social media about his concern for the preservation of Black Lives. He is a humanitarian and does not shy away from confrontation when it comes to challenging the status quo of racial aggression in the United States. Williams gave an amazing speech at the 2016 BET Awards on Sunday that only confirmed his seriousness when it comes to this work.

The continued assault on abortion rights no one is talking about

In the next few weeks, the Supreme Court is poised to rule on the legality on Texas HB2, a bill which requires all abortions (both medical, or early terminations which utilize the abortion pill, and surgical) to be done in ambulatory surgical centers or for abortion doctors to have access to hospitals. These additional requirements have been found to be unnecessary and unsafe barriers for typical abortion procedures. In fact, these requirements have caused abortion clinics all over the state of Texas to close, leaving the entire state with only 10 clinics to serve all of its citizens.