Independence Day has come and gone. Whether you celebrated with family, friends, pets, and/or netflix plus your very own star-spangled cupcakes, the fact remains that you probably spent your July 4th feeling thankful for the actions of people in the past, joyful about the present, and hopeful about the future.
It has always astounded this Locksley Anthony Henry intern how much people suddenly come together around this holiday. In the supermarkets, hospitals, and coffee shops regardless of ethnicity, gender, age, class, or cultural divide, the people buzz happily about returning to family, fireworks, and the birth of a nation built on equality and justice.
In the days that follow such revelry and community, it would seem a shame if we did not briefly meditate on the challenges that still face our country. There are many problems facing us, but the simplest to address is in higher education. Education connects to so many of the other problems because most often education is the solution to social injustices.
It also, like the 4th of July, is a concern for every American. Like the tyranny which birthed this great nation 239 years ago, the inability for all our children, regardless of income, to reach their educational goals stands in the way of greatness on the small and large scale. It effects all of us not only by widening the income inequality gap, but by increasing crime and poverty while decreasing creativity and innovation.
Worst of all, it divides individuals by creating groups of people who cannot imagine the struggles faced by the other groups. This gap that exists right now doesn’t have to keep us apart. This difference in lived experience didn’t stop British men and women from helping the soon to be American colonists. This difference never stopped men from fighting for women’s rights. It never stopped white Americans from numerous attempts to help black Americans stand up for their rights.
Back then, they knew what we’ve begun to forget in the age of experience divides and gaps: any inequality or injustice reflects on us all as a nation. Those children who desire higher education but are unable to afford it reflect on all of us as a community.
As citizens of America, we are called to make certain that all our brothers and sisters have life, liberty, and the ability to pursue happiness. If one American cannot pursue happiness, then the very ideals our nation was built on are in question.
Here at Locksley Anthony Henry, we recognize this injustice. We are standing up for the individual who wants higher education and the nation which should allow all individuals higher education. We will fight this injustice in big and small ways until finally we can say higher education is available to everyone regardless of their life circumstances. We hope you’ll support us!