Dissent is patriotic: July 4th and my four-year-old

black-lives-matter-flag-logoby Sachi Feris

In planning a special sleepover night in which my four-year-old would stay up late at my mom’s to watch Macy’s fireworks, I asked my daughter:

“Do you know want to know what this July 4th fireworks celebration is all about?” My daughter agreed.

“July 4th is basically the birthday of the United States. Just like people have birthdays, this is our country’s birthday.”

Here my daughter began to sing happy birthday.

“And on July 4th, we are celebrating being a country where (in theory) everyone has freedoms and rights…but I think it is really important on a holiday like this to remember that not everyone always has these rights…”

By coincidence, we were walking down the street and my daughter pointed out a rainbow flag which we have been on the lookout for over the past weeks (click here for post on this subject.)

“This is exactly what I was just talking about,” I told her. “People who are queer and gay aren’t always treated the way the should be and with equal rights and that is why we can use the symbol of the rainbow flag to send the message that we don’t think that is OK and we want all queer and gay people to feel safe and be treated with respect. And it is the same thing for using a sign that says Black Live Matters and sending the message that we want people who are Black to feel safe and be treated fairly.” (Click here for a post about talking about Black Lives Matter with my daughter from awhile back.)

“So when we are celebrating the birthday of the United States of America, we can also remember and send messages that we still need to improve as a country to protect the rights and freedoms of everyone.”

Today, I will be engaging my daughter in making a donation to Black Lives Matter as we re-hash this conversation. (Thanks to Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) for the inspiring this donation via my donation to SURJ which suggested an equal-sized gift to a Black-led racial justice group!)

Happy July 4th/Dissent is patriotic!


Sachi Feris is a blogger at Raising Race Conscious Children, an online a resource to support adults who are trying to talk about race with young children. Sachi also co-facilitates interactive workshops/webinars and small group workshop series on how to talk about race with young children. Sachi currently teaches Spanish to Kindergarten and 1st grade at an independent school in Brooklyn. Sachi identifies as White and is a mother to a four-year-old daughter and ten-month-old son.