All People/Freedom (Independence Day)
“We confide in our strength, without boasting of it; we respect that of others, without fearing it.”
- Thomas Jefferson
Independence Day, first established as a federal holiday in 1870, and the month of July marks the birth of our Nation and a time to celebrate the rights and liberties enjoyed by all people of this great land. In June 1776, following the conflict between the thirteen colonies and Great Britain, the Second Continental Congress convened with the 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 specifically 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 so outlined in the document, subsequent legislation would prove more inclusive, affording civil rights protection to previously non-covered individuals. As our Nation and the world evolves, so too does our understanding of the needs of Americans and world citizens to attain and preserve hard-fought freedoms for all.
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, and housing. The Missouri Commission on Human Rights is the state agency responsible for the enforcement of the MHRA, primarily through the intake and investigation of complaints filed by aggrieved parties 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 independence at these July 2013 events:
- Join the festivities at Jefferson City’s Salute to America celebration, July 3-4. The family-friendly fun takes place downtown and features live music, carnival rides, refreshments, and one of the largest firework displays in Central Missouri.
- Catch the spirit at Columbia’s Fire in the Sky celebration. Enjoy live music, children’s activities, fireworks at dusk, and plenty of food for the fun-filled evening.
- St. Louis hosts its annual Fair St. Louis under the Gateway Arch on July 4-6. Enjoy daily air shows, kid-zone festivities, popular music acts, and nightly fireworks. 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 and Godfrey’s Fireworks on the Mississippi, O’Fallon’s Heritage & Freedom Fest, Webster Groves’ Community Days, Ellisville’s Independence Day activities, Eureka’s patriotic celebration, and Ferguson’s Fourth of July Parade and Festivities.
- Kansas Citians will show their patriotism at the annual Riverfest, featuring live entertainment, local fare, and fireworks above the scenic river banks. It’s just a short drive to historic Parkville to enjoy a classic summer celebration including carnival fun, a pancake breakfast, community parade, and evening fireworks. Check out the car cruise and enjoy the barbeque contest at the Liberty Fourth Fest on July 3-4. Celebrate Independence Day and honor veterans with a visit to the Liberty Memorial and at Jackson County’s salute to our military personnel, featuring fireworks over picturesque Longview Lake.
- Enjoy the Ozarks while paying tribute to the Fourth of July at Branson Landing’s Liberty Light Up Concert and Fireworks Show. Grab your sneakers for Branson’s 13th annual Firecracker 5000 Race, and join the residents of Hollister at their Fourth of July Celebration, marking the 60th year of this family event.
Check out these Fourth of July fun facts from the United States Census Bureau.