The 4th of July Block Party
Generations of Black Patriotism
Summertime is here and America is eager to forget the last 15 months. Most state and local governments have lifted all restrictions with some likening it to releasing all the animals from all the zoos in the country at one time. As a result, everything is either sold out or in high demand. Everything. Except toilet paper. The irony.
Last week, I wrote about Juneteenth, Juneteenth-America’s 2nd Independence day. After passing that bill, this week Senate Republicans blocked a sweeping voting rights legislation aimed at protecting and expanding voting rights and reforming campaign finance laws. The sentiment being that if more people vote, it will be more difficult for them to win. The non-white voter population is growing rapidly in red states and fear and desperation are prevailing.
As far back as I can remember, the 4th of July has long been my favorite day of the year. This, in no small part, is due to the annual 4th of July block party. In Gardena California, my Uncle Buck and his family have lived on a street that is blocked off, with city permits, for the entire day. Most houses on the street participate and invite family and friends to gather and celebrate. Music, food, fun and fireworks fill the air and for kids it’s like Disneyland. The games, races and prizes add to the energy of the day and watching them from my lounge chair sparks memories. I’m great at the trivia, horrible at the karaoke.
I’ve only ever known patriotic Black people. My father and most of my Uncles served this country in the armed forces. My family is littered with History and English teachers, lawyers and judges who continue to pour love into this country despite the marginal returns. Every 4th of July, since I’m a little kid, I got to see that. Reality and inspiration on the same day against the backdrop of pure unbridled joy.
There was no block party in 2020. The size and scale of 2021 is still pending. The city of Los Angeles is trying to crack down on illegal fireworks as last year felt like living in a war zone for over 2 weeks. illegal fireworks in LA. As a result, many, but not all public fireworks are back. Fireworks displays in LA 2021. I reside in LA’s exclusive westside and, as I’m finishing up writing this blog very close to the midnight deadline, loud booms can be heard in the neighborhood. It’s June 23. The zoo animals are restless.
Traveling has increased my patriotism. While passionate about living in and visiting as many places as possible around the world, there’s no place like home. Being born in the United States, with all its shortcomings, makes me one of the luckiest people in the world and I try never to take that for granted. Having this blog, where I get to say what I want, is a privilege. The ability to dream and see them realized is a privilege. This 4th of July, as I over indulge to the point of food coma, will be a privilege.
All I can say is, thank God I don’t go to the beach because someone would surely man the harpoon. Zero exercise and my feet are completely disappearing as I look down. The answer to that, of course, is to never get up. Just keep the chips in a drawer, by the bed. It’s been a tough week.
Do you celebrate the 4th of July?