“Five Ways to Enjoy July 4th Without Feeling You’re Celebrating Colonial Conquest”

Finally, a cookout whose guest list you can control!

This listicle isn’t meant to educate you on the obvious reasons why America’s ill-conceived idea of “independence” is not at all worth celebrating for any of us whose ancestors were torn from their homes and sold into slavery in a foreign and cruel land. We do believe, though, there are at least five ways of reclaiming Independence Day that feel more authentic than fireworks, hot dogs and American flag T-shirts from Old Navy (if that’s your thing). If you already have an alternative July 4th groove going on, well, we’d love to hear about how you and yours spend the day. Send us your stories, photos, and videos at contributors@loveblackgirls.org.

1. Fix A Few To-Go Plates
This is a given, especially in the south. Pick a weekend, any weekend and you’ll find families sprawled out across yards cooking out and having a great time. We’re still hot off the heels of Juneteenth, so if you didn’t have a chance to celebrate African Independence Day itself, get your people together. I bet your uncle has his grill sandals ready!

2. Friendependence Day
PSA: Potlucks don’t have to involve white people! You’ve heard of Friendsgiving, but what about Friendependence Day? Gather your friends up, tell them each to bring a dish, and hang out all day. Play some kickball. Drink La Croix spritzers, if you’re anything like my very classy friends. If this word sprouts up across the internet later on, just remember you saw it here first, OK?

3. Book Maize & Frankie Beverly
Just kidding … unless, of course, you got it like that. But do crank up those family reunion jams because the season is in full swing. If your family gets together for an annual reunion during this time, it’s the perfect opportunity to fully center your family’s history and lived experiences. Creating a visual story or sharing your family’s oral history with the younger members are just a couple of ideas to make this year’s gathering unique and give everyone a deeper sense of connection to each other.

4. Visit a Neighbor
I realize this is the third point to involve food in some capacity, but I love food! While most of us celebrate this holiday (and others) with family and friends alike, consider the elders or individuals living with disabilities who may be restricted to their homes. It would be a kind gesture to visit with, do a chore for, or take a plate to someone who is shut-in.

5. Nothing Much…
If you’re lucky enough to work for a company that gives the day off but aren’t up for any festivities, don’t feel bad about it. Holidays, with the exception of only Halloween, wear me out. I actually hold the standing record for declining invitations to Memorial Day cookouts. If you’re anything like me, you’ll probably just spend the day recharging with copious amounts of milk chocolate Milano cookies and a good book. Here’s one I picked up recently that fits the occasion.

However you decide to celebrate (or not), make it yours. That is liberation. That is independence.

About the author

Reagan is the project and research associate for The Lighthouse | Black Girl Projects. She enjoys baking sweets, spending too much money on candles and being an obsessive Game of Thrones fan in her spare time. Keep up with her and the LBG crew on Twitter @luvblkgrls. 

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