The 4th of July, as we know it, signifies a revolutionary day in American history. It represents the birth of the United States as an independent nation and the day the Declaration of Independence was adopted. Through these notions, America strived to become inclusive of all and embody “the land of the free.” America stands as one of the fastest growing liberal countries and hence, many other countries look towards us as the big brother.
While we celebrate the freedom and equality this day brought for American advancements, we tend to surpass the significance of today. The 4th of July isn’t just a day to celebrate how far our country’s advancements went with fireworks and parties, but to stand in unison and continue to improve everything it represents: a liberal and independent environment for all kinds of people to thrive in.
The changes made in America in the last few decades have truly been impeccable. Likewise, in the areas where this country could utilize improvement, we can see immense effort by people who believe in further improving this progressive country by eradicating discrimination, as we recently witnessed with the Black Lives Matter campaign. While Black Lives Matter represents one area of discrimination on the basis of race, there are many other types discrimination exisitng in our country. In fact, discrimination is defined as “the unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people or things, especially on the grounds of race, age, or sex”.
While we witnessed how that definition encompasses several aspects of prejudice in our country, it is surprising how mental health isn’t even mentioned when “22% of Americans believe individuals with mental health disorders experienced more discrimination” (addictioncenter.org). Mental health discrimination is more common and prevalent of an issue than we acknowledge in today’s world. It is a proven fact that nearly 1 out of every 3 people around us is suffering from some form of a mental illness, yet we may never even know because of the stigma and discrimination that our environment has engrained in us.
Remember, mental health issues exist right now, right amongst us as we turn and look at the people we celebrate the 4th of July with, whether we know it or not. It’s important to acknowledge and encompass each and every one of these individuals in our lives and make them feel free of any kind of stigma or discrimination because that’s what we are celebrating on America’s Independence Day: “the land of the free” in which everyone can thrive regardless of race, religion, sex, and mental health!