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Independence Day 2020

This week, we celebrate Independence Day to commemorate the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. On July 4, 1776, our nation’s founders declared they no longer recognized British rule. This statement was one of the most important steps in forming the United States of America. The declaration remains one of the world’s most well-known statements on human rights, particularly its second sentence:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men (and women!) are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Some of our founders may have been imperfect individuals, but this passage came to represent the moral standard that the United States has strived to achieve for 244 years. This ideal was and remains foundational to the end of slavery, the end of child labor, women’s suffrage, the civil rights movement, gender equality, LGBTQ+ rights, and advancing organized labor.

In 2020, Americans face many challenges. We often seem divided in many ways. It’s important that we join together every July 4th to celebrate our nation’s independence and all Americans’ rights to “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

As union members, we understand how our collective efforts strengthen our lives, our professions, and our nation. The American labor movement has fought for fairness and equality for the rights, wages, benefits, and the overall well-being of all working people. America’s unions continue to work to keep working people safe and protected economically.

This fundamentally is the same struggle that has been waged by so many groups throughout the history of our nation. The Black Lives Matters movement we are witnessing is struggling to be heard, demanding that human dignity be recognized, and striving to achieve the changes necessary for our nation to better meet the ideals expressed at our founding.

During the July 4th holiday, we should express our union pride and share how we contribute to making our communities and nation stronger. We should remember that other Americans are fighting to uphold the founding statement that “all men (and women) are created equal” and put an end to systemic racism.

Happy Independence Day!