For this month and next month I'm going to talk about freedom and independence because as all of you know, I am very passionate about this subject and I absolutely love the Fourth of July! But the material I am going to reflect on for this month came from my writing class, and that's when I realized I couldn't just talk about independence and freedom for only one month.
So here's the first chapter. I'm sure a lot of you have heard of the song “This Land is Your Land.” But the question I was asked was “Do you believe this country was made for you and me?” I don't believe this country was made for you and me until these three things happened.
The first was when the Civil War ended in 1865. The second was when women were granted the right to vote alongside a fellow man in 1920. The third one that I would say made our country made for you and me is when the ADA, or Americans with Disabilities Act, was made official in 1990 so that all people with disabilities would have the freedoms to go to public places just as much as people without disabilities.
This is one of the reasons why I have been very passionate about the Disabilities Pride Parade and choosing to do that instead of going to camp. I feel it is my duty as a person with a disability to honor such a beautiful concept and make sure it continues for years to come. This year is particularly important to me, because it marks the 25th Anniversary of the ADA.
Another prompt that I found incredibly meaningful to me in the class was “How do you crown thy good with brotherhood?” I believe there are only two ways to “Crown thy good with brotherhood,” like that song said. One is to give your time or money to charity, and two is to follow through with what you believe in. That is why I have decided to dance in the Disability Pride Parade. I also want to say that a brother or sisterhood does not have to start and stop when you are in college. For example if you were a Girl Scout or Boy Scout as a young child that is a form of brotherhood or if you join a spiritual community as an adult, that is also a form of brotherhood. One of the reasons why I don't mind dancing with younger dancers is because I feel it is a sisterhood. Once we hit the dance floor age doesn't matter and we are just a bunch of different artists coming together to improve our craft.
Another place where I feel a sense of brotherhood is my temple. A few weeks ago I received an email from my Rabbi congratulating me on my one year anniversary with the Temple and how I am a valuable member of the community. It feels so wonderful to walk into a place and know I am a valuable for just being me,
Along those lines, I firmly believe in these two quotes. The first is: “It is the responsibility of every citizen to question authority” by Benjamin Franklin. I totally believe this is true because if we didn't question authority, Black people wouldn't have the rights they have today, and women wouldn't have the right to vote. People with disabilities wouldn't have the freedoms that they have today if it weren't for the ADA and speaking out. Finally I’d like to end with one more quote from Martin Luther King Jr. that I feel strongly about: “One has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.” I will just end that way because I think it speaks for itself.
For this month, I'd like to leave you with the concept of freedom and constraints, and I will explain more next month.