Let America Be America Again
The 4th of July holiday presents an opportunity for all Americans to pause and think about what we are truly celebrating: whose freedom, whose independence, whose rights? Recent discussions among EnCompass staff about the events in Charleston reveal the many different feelings and experiences among our staff about what it means to be an American. And those in EnCompass whose identity is in other nationalities and live in the United States, or in other countries, have yet a different set of experiences of this country. There are many things to celebrate on the 4th of July; to name a few: the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 enacted by the U.S. Congress in 1990, President Obama signing of the Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization on March 7, 2013, and the Supreme Court ruling for the freedom of two people of the same sex to marry just last week. We at EnCompass want to express our solidarity with other Americans and all of our own team members who suffer discrimination in their daily lives, and who live with fear for their children, spouses, partners or families. We want to celebrate Langston Hughes’ poem, Let American be America again, that does not let us rest on what has been achieved so far, but asks us to work toward a vision of what we want to celebrate in 4th of July days to come:
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath--
America will be!
Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain--
All, all the stretch of these great green states--
And make America again!
As we see EnCompass as part of those who work to make America all it can be, we invite all of our colleagues, friends and families to share your thoughts about your hopes and dreams for this country.