Land of the Free?

America is known as one of the melting pots of this world. There are people who reside here from a plethora of different countries from all over the world. Since Colonial times, America was a place that equated freedom and opportunity. British colonists came to America in order to establish their religious freedom. Fast forward a couple of hundreds of years, and another exodus of people left their countries for America and made their way to the famous Ellis Island. I am a product of the emigration system. For those of you who don’t know, my family heritage is Nigerian. My mother and father came to America in order to develop their economic opportunities. Despite me being born in Canada, I am an American citizen. I have lived in America since I was 4 years old. This country means a lot to me. I love my Nigerian culture, but I am an conglomeration of both Nigerian and American upbringing.

As Fourth of July just passed, it brought me to do some self-reflection on what it truly means to have freedom. On social media, there have been some individuals who have discredited the fact that African Americans are celebrating Fourth of July. They state “Why are you celebrating the Fourth… You weren’t free”. Although in a factual perspective, African Americans in this country did not receive complete emancipation until about a 100 years later, I believe this statement is harmful and ignorant. This type of thinking is harmful because it perpetuates the stigma of slavery. My opinion is that, yes, we should acknowledge slavery for what it is. However, as a nation we should not dwell on it as if it was the only thing that black people in this country ever accomplished. Even in the film industry, the majority of the films and roles that are available to African Americans deal with slavery, segregation, the “sassy” friend, or just about being black. Our film industry lacks in making complex and intellectual roles for black individuals and people of color in general.

Furthermore, this nation has a long way to go in order to establish equality and freedom for everyone. Unfortunately, in this nation there is still the prevalence of sex slaves and trafficking. Many people are not aware of this. Those who are aware may not want to admit it. It is such a gruesome and sad lot to know that young women and men are being sold for sex. Fortunately, there are organizations that raise money to fund aid for these slaves. When all forms of slavery are abolished and controlled in this nation, then we can have peace.

Lastly, I would like to touch bases on the LGBTQ community. Although my personal religious beliefs do not support that lifestyle, I was in support of the legalization of their marriage. I may not agree with homosexuality from a biblical standpoint, but I do believe that everyone should have equality. I believe we made a big step forward as a nation to  reducing prejudice and inequality with the bill that was passed almost a year ago.

Well, that’s all that I have for today. I feel so blessed to be apart of such a promising and beautiful nation.

Thanks for reading,

Abisola