4th of July: A Day for Unity and Tolerance

This 4th of July weekend is a time when Americans commemorate the independence of our country and celebrate the hallmarks of freedom that make up this diverse nation.

Upholding basic freedoms

Americans from generations before have fought to defend the rights and freedoms declared in our country’s Constitution as well as the constitutional amendments. The First Amendment protects citizens’ right to practice their religion as they please and a right to practice freely. But for some reason, America seems to be heading further away from upholding those basic freedoms. Most recently, the country has seen more attacks on religious communities, at their places of worship and at their homes. People were simply targeted for their religion or their beliefs.

The recent shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, the anti-Islam protests held outside an Arizona mosque, the killing of three young Muslim students in Chapel Hill, police brutality focused on American minorities and the subsequent arson attacks on churches and mosques seem to highlight the divides that still run through this nation.

Responding with unity

But in spite of these hate-filled attacks, Americans from across the country have stood up to support the targeted communities. Following the attack on Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, America’s religious communities condemned the attacks and offered sympathy and support for the victims. Muslim community leaders called for a “Day of Prayer” for healing after the Charleston Massacre. Following the protest at a Phoenix mosque, many Americans called out against such hatred, taking to social media using #notmyamerica to stand up against such attacks and not let those hate-filled acts define a county based on tolerance, liberty and justice.

President Obama recently highlighted the importance of unity in a country that is so diverse stating: “As Americans, we insist that nobody should be targeted because of who they are, or what they look like, who they love, how they worship. We stand united against these hateful acts,” Obama stated.

He stressed the importance of coming together as one nation, united under the same values and rights. “These are the freedoms and the ideals, and the values that we uphold. And it’s more important than ever, because around the world and here at home, there are those who seek to divide us by religion or race or sect,” President Obama stated.

This 4th of July weekend, Americans will come together to honor these familiar values. These are the values that bring us closer together instead of dividing us. Americans remember that whatever their faith, race, religion or belief, America is one family.

Written by Liz Yaslik

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Liz Yaslik is living in the heart of the ancient Fes medina. She currently works as a Middle East and North African researcher with Thomson Reuters and Morocco World News.