Yesterday, I stood outside an apartment in New Jersey and gawked at fireworks. That’s usually a common statement, but it doesn’t feel so common now. It’s interesting to know that the fireworks mean a plethora of double entendre. From the sky, they look like a visceral mesh of colors spreading sporadically over the night leaving young children with adoration as they hold lopsided corn dogs.

To others, it may mean veterans weak in the knees, shaking from the trauma they can’t seem to face as the splatter — the sounds are so closely similar to gunshots they hid from as fellow comrades lost their lives to these selfish bullets. July 4th means a celebration for freedom, for America’s liberation from the brooding mother of Great Britain, and yet it also classifies as the traumatic sacrifices soldiers made believing they’re protecting these freedoms. 

Independence Day used to be a day you’d go through your closet trying to find some sort ofred, white, and blueensemble that would let everyone know how patriotic you are. What’s more patriotic than blood-stained tank tops from — again, selfish bullets that surpassed Black Americans from the arms of police officers for things like, traffic stops, CD selling, countless weed charges, breathing, living, surviving. I guess that’s what Independence Day means too.Those gunshots — I mean, fireworks — are representative of lives lost to keep America as homey for its bravest.The bravest means those who dare to pass laws thatoverturn Roe v. Wade.A law that ensured choice on all accounts. The bravest means those who dare to overturn laws that drip into rights to contraceptives and gay marriages. 

What does Independence Day mean then?For some reason, 2022 embarks on the first year America gets grounded from its birthday. Twitter went into a shamble this weekend with its refusal of participating in family barbecues and carnival invitations, because what’s the point if freedom only represents a quarter of those who live here? What’s the point to call in the Star-spangled banner and hold hands in solitude if the next moment, you could be running, running, to ensure your breath won’t be taken by amass shooting?

How sweet and endearing are colorful fireworks ascending into the air, if people of color before these major modernized events were never considered? We were never written to be a part of these looseleaf freedoms, written in the ink of whippings upon enslaved black people, as well as the opened blisters from Native Americans when being removed from their homelands. This year, this month, these gory and gloomy days were not the reason for the can of worms,making America a place of hypocrisywith a love for some good ‘oleright to bear arms law. It extends beyond that.

There cannot be any more hiding underneath the covers, to feel a sense of normalcy about the approaching years to come. What is there to celebrate if truly, truly, if a time machine warped us back into the ghostly year of 1776? Most of us wouldn’t be able to chant in this victory. This holiday embarks on the audacious, self-reliant, as well as clinical nation known as White Man America. And that’s who barbecuing and doing the Cha-Cha slide this year. Those, who are prioritized, are the first-class Americans we always knew they were. Let this year feel like the chime of reckoning, as painful revelations make their way to your doorstep.