4th of July 2017 is a celebration with “mixed feelings” according to an article by Russell Contreras from the Associated Press, published by several media outlets. The writing brings together all the reasons why, in the past 12 months, the celebration of the Independence Day may have adjacent somber connotations, especially for the minorities living under the United States flag.
Since the Trump administration entered, the minorities living in the United States, mostly Blacks, and Latinos, but also immigrants of other descendance, have faced a questioning sense of justice.
When it comes to law discrimination, film director Chris Phillips says: “Justice apparently doesn’t apply to all people”, referring to the 2014 case of Michael Brown, the teenager who was deadly shot by a police officer in Ferguson Missouri. A similar case reached its aftermath boiling point last month: police officer Jeronimo Yanez was acquitted for the shooting of a black man names Philando Castile, a 32-year-old cafeteria worker. “A lot of people have lost hope”, Phillips continues. The filmmaker is preparing for the release of a documentary on Brown’s case, named Ferguson 365”.
Loss of hope draws people into a dark place of anger and hostility towards the system. The articole further exemplifies this state through the case of 55-year-old musician Janette McClelland, who says she is not celebrating the 4th of July.
“It’s a white man’s holiday to me”, the Albuquerque native says, adding that she would not watch the fireworks because she is “not feeling it”.
And while foreseeing the increase in tension, which could spark in violence among black people and also among immigrants, McClelland prays it won’t come to that. “I’m praying and trying to keep positive.”
Trump’s ban for Muslim immigrants coming from a number of countries – Syria, Lybia, Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, Iran – has sparked outrage worldwide. Numerous celebrities have used their popularity and influence to persuade – or determine – the Trump administration to lift the ban. One of them was Star Trek star George Takei, who started a petition in January and shared his own tragic experience about coming to the United States.
Despite this, the Muslim ban went ahead and this past Friday, on June 30, it was reported that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement will arrest relatives who smuggled children into the country. Until recently, teens and children who were fleeing dangerous situations in their home country were placed, upon arrival into the U.S. with sponsors, usually represented by one of the parents or a relative. The Government is now planning to arrest the sponsors.
“There’s a lot not to be proud about when celebrating the 4th of July”, said Mexican student Janelle Astorga Ramos, living in the United States. “Even though it’s a time to celebrate as a country and (for) our unity, it’s definitely going to be on the back of our minds.”
The Associated Press article also addresses the issue of the North Dakota pipeline. Insurgent star Shailene Woodley participated in the protest against the project, which landed her in jail. In late October, she was arrested and charged with criminal trespassing and engaging in a riot, to which she pleaded not guilty.
More than 700 arrests have been made between August 2016 and February 2017. Trump approved the project, which consists in transporting oil from North Dakota to Illinois. The pipe is working since June 1 of this year, while four Sioux tribes are continuing their quest in federal court for justice, trying to shut down the project.