All People/Freedom (July 4th)
“We confide in our strength, without boasting of it; we respect that of others, without fearing it.”
- Thomas Jefferson
The month of July marks the birthday of our nation and is a time to celebrate the rights and liberties enjoyed by all people of this great land. In June of 1776, following persistent conflict between the thirteen colonies and Great Britain, the Second Continental Congress convened with the laudable objective of exerting colonial sovereignty. This conference would eventually produce the Declaration of Independence, officially adopted by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776. Significantly, the document notes individual rights and freedoms, declaring, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Although not all individuals were effectively included in the application and protection of the rights outlined in the document, subsequent legislation would prove more inclusive, affording civil rights protection to previously non-covered individuals. The fourth of July was first established as a holiday in 1870. As our nation and the world continue to evolve, so does our understanding of the needs of Americans and world citizens to maintain and preserve the hard-fought freedoms for all humankind.
In Missouri, civil rights are afforded protection through the Missouri Human Rights Act (MHRA), which precludes adverse treatment based on a protected category in employment, places of public accommodation, or housing. The Missouri Commission on Human Rights is the state agency responsible for the enforcement of the MHRA, primarily through the investigation of complaints and through education and outreach designed to prevent discrimination and foster mutual understanding. If you believe you have been discriminated against due to any category protected under the MHRA, contact MCHR toll-free at 877-781-4236 or take the quick assessment to determine if the MHRA applies to your situation.
Missourians will celebrate America’s birthday at these July events:
- Join the annual festivities at Jefferson City’s Salute to America celebration. The family-friendly fun takes place downtown and features live music, carnival rides, refreshments, and the largest firework display in central Missouri.
- St. Louis hosts its annual Fair St. Louis under the Gateway Arch on July 4th, 6th, and 7th. Enjoy a kick-off parade, well-known music acts, and fireworks nightly. Other Independence Day events in or within the St. Louis vicinity include the Rockin’ on the Landing celebration at Laclade’s Landing, the St. Charles Riverfest, Alton’s Mississippi River Fireworks Festival, O’Fallon’s Heritage & Freedom Fest, Webster Groves’s Community Days, Ellisville’s Fourth of July Celebration, Kirkwood’s Freedom Festival, Chesterfield’s Fireworks Display, and Ferguson’s Fourth of July event celebrating the country fair.
- Kansas Citians will show their patriotism at the annual Riverfest, featuring live entertainment, local fare, and fireworks above the scenic river banks. It is just a short drive to historic Independence, Liberty, and Lexington, all hosting spectacular evening firework displays.
- Enjoy the Ozarks while paying tribute to the Fourth of July at Branson Landing’s 5th Annual Liberty Light Up Concert and Fireworks. Grab your sneakers for Branson’s 12th Annual Firecracker 5000 Race and join the residents of Hollister at their Fourth of July Celebration marking the 59th year of the annual event.
- Catch the spirit at Columbia’s Fire in the Sky celebration. Enjoy live music, children’s activities, fireworks at dusk, and plenty of edible fuel for the fun-filled evening. From turtle races to volleyball, there is something for everyone at Fayette’s Fabulous 4th at the City Park.
Check out these Fourth of July fun facts from the United States Census Bureau.