Jul 4, 2010

Stop, Hey What's That Sound?

Happy Fourth of July. I hope that you are all out doing something enjoyable with your loved ones, soaking up the sweet summer sunshine wherever you might be. Since I live in East Oakland, I am currently typing this from the comfort and safety of my porcelain bathtub.

I’m not sure why people think it’s entertaining to set off firecrackers in my neighborhood. It’s akin to shouting, “Allah Akbar!” on a full flight over the Atlantic. Not. Funny. At. All.

Of course, I kid my Oakland neighbors. We deserve to celebrate our place in this great country just as much, if not more than, everyone else. As a community, it’s pretty easy for us to get mired down in our sensationalized and often unfair reputation of being a war-zone, especially this weekend as we await the verdict on the trial of Johannes Mehserle. And while I don't fault them for taking the precautions recommended by Mayor Dellums and the OPD, it's discouraging to see business owners boarding up their shops in preparation for what many feel will be a violent reaction, regardless of the jury's decision. It is the height of irony, on a holiday intended for the celebration of freedom and independence, that we remain shackled to the notion (one borne largely of the minds of non-residents) that we are a city of barbarians and shit-starters, to the point of effectively shutting down our economy and infrastructure.

Oakland is an overwhelmingly inclusive community of good, hard-working people whose strength of character has endured more tenuous times than the ones to which we bear witness today. And while my greatest wish is that we all stay safe and prosperous in the days and weeks to come, I also hope that we take a few minutes on this day to free ourselves from the fear and judgment that inevitably bring us down.  Like fireworks, we have the power to combust and destroy, but we also have the ability to soar and illuminate.

Wishing you all a peaceful, inspirational Independence Day.
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.