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For some, Independence Day is a time to reflect on historical oppression of minorities in the US

"The Fourth of July means nothing to us – 1776 was a year of slavery. It was not a year of freedom."

AUSTIN, Texas — Monday may be a national holiday, but not everyone is celebrating.

The founder of community organization WorkingGroup 512 said this holiday ignores the oppression of African Americans, Latinos and indigenous people. So on Monday, rather than soaking in the fireworks, it will be business as usual for Watson.

“We have a food access program with the deliveries going out. We’ve got a moms initiative where beds are going out today, beds and televisions,” said Watson. 

For Watson it boils down to the history that often doesn’t get discussed on Independence Day.

“The Fourth of July means nothing to us – 1776 was a year of slavery. It was not a year of freedom,” said Watson.

The U.S.’s independence did not come with equality. In the Declaration of Independence, indigenous people were referred to as “merciless Indian savages,” and many of the founding fathers owned slaves.

“When you consciously celebrate these foolish holidays, slave-driven holidays, then spiritually, psychologically, you’ll see injustice and you’ll turn your eye away,” said Watson.

So Watson and his fellow organizers are saving their energy for now. 

“We’ll celebrate other things, like when bills actually get passed,” he said.

Watson said he continues to ask the question: Whom is Independence Day really for?


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