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Happy Independence Day 2024

Independence Day

Independence Day and the celebration of our country’s founding is a beautiful metaphor for the labor movement. In forming the country, various interests and people were forced to collaborate around a united idea to birth what has become the United States of America. Farmers from western Massachusetts had to align their interests with merchants from Pennsylvania who themselves had to join with southerners who made their money trading on people and land. Each had their own unique issue with the mother country, yet none alone could stand up to the world’s strongest empire at the time.

The labor movement, much like the original thirteen colonies, can only demonstrate its power in unity. With solidarity, the fight of one becomes the fight of all. And it is only with solidarity that labor can produce victory. Independence Day is a holiday that invites us to reflect on a number of meaningful things about our nation. We can take pride in the collective courage the original patriots displayed in beating back the strongest army in the world at the time. We can remember the heroic sacrifices of so many, those whose names we know and the countless others who toiled in anonymity. We can reflect on the persistence and tenacity that the early Americans showed in waging a long and exhaustive campaign for independence.

Kenya Campbell, President AFT Maryland

These reflections should serve as a lighthouse to labor advocates in 2024. We can practice our own collective action to bring about fair wages, necessary benefits and workplace dignity. We can make our own sacrifices to see that these rights we deserve as workers come to reality. We can adopt the same persistence and tenacity to advocate for the things public employees deserve, even if our efforts mean our campaigns are long and exhaustive. This is the lesson we each should take away from Independence Day this year. We should be sure to fire up the grill, enjoy the exciting firework displays, and enjoy the beach or pool if we can, but we must use this moment to learn from the past and let that be our guide forward.

Happy Independence Day. 

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