A Message on U.S. Independence Day
July 4, 2020
This 4th of July we celebrate the 244th birthday of our nation with pride, but at the same time, also with great humility.
Today, the United States grapples with racial injustice that continues despite our long struggle to overcome it. Americans across the country are exercising their constitutional rights to stand up for freedom, dignity, and human rights.
On this day, 244 years ago, the drafters of the Declaration of Independence declared, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”
Since then, our nation has evolved, continually striving, as the Constitution calls us to “form a more perfect union.”
Over the years our country has fought for equality, including a civil war that divided our nation but led to freedom for slaves.
The 14th Amendment to the Constitution grants citizenship to all persons born in the United States, including former slaves, and ensures equal protection under the law.
The 15th Amendment prohibits denying someone the right to vote because of race or color.
Subsequent legislation and court decisions prohibit discrimination in various aspects of life, including schooling, housing, transportation, and employment, among others.
As Dr. Martin Luther King spoke in 1963, “We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality.”
Our work is not yet complete.
Despite our imperfections as individuals and as nations, we continue to fight for freedom, dignity, and human rights.
Today, with resolve and humility, we mark our nation’s Independence and re-dedicate ourselves to the unfinished work, which others have so nobly advanced.
Today, on our nation’s birthday, we re-dedicate ourselves to liberty and justice for all.