July Celebrations and Culture

Summer is in full swing, people are enjoying fun in the sun, family vacations and BBQs with friends. July presents the prime opportunity to get outside and bask in nature. Few cultural celebrations occur during this month, but there are a couple of notable celebratory opportunities.  

Independence Day 

One of America’s best-known celebrations is the Fourth of July, or Independence Day. Established as a federal holiday in 1941, July 4th marks the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. The Revolutionary War signified the beginning of the original 13 colonies’ desire to establish total independence from the rule of Great Britain. Several confrontations beginning in 1775 led to full blown war, also known as the American Revolution. 

The Continental Congress, the governing body of the 13 American colonies, convened to discuss a motion introduced by Virginia delegate Richard Henry Lee calling for the colonies to officially establish independence. From that discussion a committee consisting of Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Roger Sherman, Benjamin Franklin, and Robert Livingston was established to draft a formal statement, the Declaration of Independence.  

On July 2nd, the Congress voted affirmatively on Mr. Lee’s resolution and on July 4th the Declaration of Independence was adopted.  

John Adams wrote that July 2nd, “will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival” and that the celebration should include “Pomp and Parade…Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other.” 

While John Adams description of how the holiday will be celebrated was correct, the celebration of the holiday has declined. July 4th is a symbol of patriotism, but only to some. One of the key features that was struck for the Declaration of Independence was the freedom from slavery, leaving millions of Africans in bondage. Independence for all did not come until 1865 which is what is now celebrated as Juneteenth.  

July 4th presents the opportunity for the nation to come together in celebration of freedom, patriotism, and reverence for what has become the United States of America. It is an opportunity to honor the original 13 colonies and the vision for impendence that birthed a now global leader. 

Anniversary of Americans with Disabilities Act 

On July 26, 1990, Congress passed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This law provides for equal opportunity for anyone with a disability be it physical or mental and prohibits discrimination based on impairment. Areas covered under the Act include employment, transportation, communications, public accommodations, and access to government services.  

Opportunities to celebrate the anniversary include surveying the workplace for barriers including physical or digital barriers that can be addressed. Workplace training can also be conducted to promote sensitivity for people with disabilities. 

Let July serve as a reminder that we are all created equal with certain unalienable rights, “that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Declaration of Independence.