We are all a part of so many communities, and the ones that give us the greatest sense of belonging are the ones that we are willing to fight for.
Fireworks, friends, barbeques… I love the 4th of July. As I’ve grown, my appreciation for the values behind our celebration has grown as well. Together, our nation celebrates its independence, celebrates its right to identify that our values differed from the values of the empires that lay claim** to the land.
I’ve begun a tradition (indulged by someone dear to my heart), of singing the national anthem on the 4th of July. As our voices harmonize, I close my eyes, listen to the words, and imagine what it would be like to be in a battle for our independence, to not know how the war was going (do we still stand a chance?) apart from the glimpses of our flag still raised over the scene of brave people giving the ultimate sacrifice in the name of our country. The uprisings that started this spring in North Africa and the Middle East make it unfortunately all-too-easy to imagine, as they’ve begun their own journeys for their countries to be ruled democratically by and for their own people. They are giving their lives to have their voices heard, to seek the same rights that we often take for granted.
Doing this (the singing, the thinking) shakes me in a good way, reminds me of how lucky we are to have the rights that we do. We can belong to so many communities without persecution, and we can stand up to support our friends and families whose communities are challenged as illegitimate. We can do that without fear of death, torture, or imprisonment. We are empowered to instigate change through good deeds, good service, and through a democratic process (though admittedly that could be viewed as a work in progress).
We are all a part of so many communities, and the ones that give us the greatest sense of belonging are the ones that we are willing to fight for. I feel so lucky for the path that brought me into a credit union, for Verity and the Credit Union Movement has given me a sense of belonging that I didn’t know I could hope for. I am deeply connected to the principles and values that shape how we do business, and with my colleagues (friends!) I seek to not only identify the principles, but to live them. This connection to my values in the work that I do gives me a sense of purpose. I believe that through our thoughts and actions, we can help those in our communities –locally and globally– to achieve the well-known ideals set forth in the Declaration of Independence: the inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Should you find yourself in traffic after watching the fireworks this evening, I encourage you to take that opportunity to reflect on the communities you belong to, the values you hold dear, and how that shapes the life you choose to live.
In the words of Marlo Thomas, we’re all of us “free to be you and me.” Go be yourself! I’ll stand beside you!
**(I understand the 4th is also a controversial holiday, as our nation’s founding fathers didn’t appear to learn how to share and play nice in kindergarten. Admittedly, there could have been a more diplomatic way to share the land with the people who were already here. On the whole we’ve grown as a nation since 1776, though we’ve still got growing to do.)
Sasha may be the shyest social person you’ll ever meet. She joined Verity in 2009, with a couple years in the Credit Union Movement already tucked under her belt (amidst coffee-making and bagel-slinging, running a non-profit, and trying her hand at farming).
An eternal optimist (except, you know, when she’s not), she enjoys exploring her surroundings and having adventures with friends; yoga, running, reading, writing, and good food. Though not a remarkable cook, she is nonetheless a sincere one and admits she’d be better if there were three more hours in every day. When not doing one of the many activities mentioned in the previous two sentences, she counts herself lucky to be peacefully at home, cuddling with her partner and their cat.