Fourth of July and the resistance: Celebrating America with a side of protest in NYC

Fourth of July events will be held in New York City that digress from the usual manners of celebration and invoke the resistance.
Fourth of July events will be held in New York City that digress from the usual manners of celebration and invoke the resistance. Photo Credit: Noelle Lilley

America’s 242nd year: The #MeToo movement exposed elite men in media and political circles for sexual assault and violence; rampant gun violence led to 59 dead in Las Vegas, 17 dead in a high school in Parkland, Florida, and 152 more mass shootings in 2018 alone; the opioid epidemic was declared a national emergency; a zero-tolerance immigration policy by the Trump administration led to the separation of migrant children from their parents at the border; and most recently, a woman’s right to choose has come under scrutiny.

Happy Birthday, America.

While events to drink alcoholic beverages, scarf down all-American grub and boisterously celebrate one more year in the country’s history while gazing upon firework displays abound in the city, there are a number of events for those who may be feeling a bit disenchanted with the land of the free and the home of the brave.

“We felt weird celebrating Independence Day,” said Nabilah Jimwani, an organizer of such an observation, adding that current events made her and fellow organizer, Rosalee Lewis, feel the need to make an impact with Fourth of July celebrations.

Here is a list of events in the city that invoke the resistance and fight the power:

Not Ur Usual 4th of July

At the event hosted by Jiwani and Lewis at Narcbar at The Standard in the East Village (25 Cooper Sq.) from 1 to 4 p.m., 10 percent to 15 percent of proceeds from happy hour drinks and food will be donated to the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES) Texas. Since the zero-tolerance policy announced by the Department of Homeland Security, RAICES has been on the frontlines in the fight to end family separation.

“We still wanted to keep it positive, we wanted to keep it a celebration. We also felt self-conscious that we sort of take [Fourth of July] for granted that we can celebrate that every year,” Lewis said, adding that the duo wanted to remind people to not take freedom for granted.

There also will be a “Ring-Your-Rep” phone outside the bar, where those celebrating can drunk-dial political representatives regarding the issues they care about.

July 4th Reading of the Declaration and the U.S. Constitution

Whilst not a party, this reading hosted by a group of concerned citizens, called the Declaration 17, will celebrate American values. There will be readigs from the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and the Bill of Rights at the Eleanor Roosevelt Monument located at the intersection of Riverside Park and West 72nd Street from noon to 1:30 p.m.

“They will be making comments through and exposing our current government’s erosion of some of the Constitution’s principles,” the event description reads.

People Power! Combining Forms! Happy Fourth!

Finback Brewery, located at 78-01 77th Ave in Queens, is introducing a special Fourth of July beer called “People Power,” a 7.3 percent IPA. From noon to 8 p.m., they will donate $1 from every four-pack sold to the American Civil Liberties Union “to support the work of defending our Constitution and standing up for all people across our nation,” the description reads.

The ACLU donation is the result of the brewery’s participation in the People Power Beer project, a grassroots movement to protect voting rights and civil liberties. Interboro Spirits and Ales, Kings County Brewers Collective, Strong Rope Brewery and Threes Brewing in Brooklyn, and Rockaway Brewing Company in Long Island City, are also members of the People Power Beer project.

July 4th #GetOrganizedBK Observation

Councilman Brad Lander (D-Brooklyn) is encouraging his constituents to turn their disillusionment into action at the Old Stone House in Washington Square Park, off of Fourth Avenue between Third and Fourth streets from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event will feature music by Arcade Fire’s Will Butler and singer-songwriter Jean Rohe.

In addition to a potluck dinner, singing and discussions about possible activism, the organizers will also register people to vote.

Anti-July 4 picnic

This protest picnic at Marcus Garvey Park in Harlem from 1 to 5 p.m. will have food, films and music to partake in.

“At a time when this system puts immigrant children in cages at the border and bombs still other children in the Middle East, when police still shoot down black and Latino people in the streets, when women are treated as less than human and the basic rights and respect for LGBTQ people are denied right up to the Supreme Court, and when the environment itself is under severe assault—a better world IS possible,” the event description reads.

While a picnic on the Fourth of July is probably not enough to convince you of brighter times, a little ironic merriment with an added dollop of amassing for a revolution never hurt anybody.

F*** theFourth: Anti-Independence Day Party

From 2 to 8 p.m., an art gallery in Brooklyn will pull out all the stops. The Living Gallery in Brooklyn will charge $4 for entry, food plates and drinks, with $2 shots all in the name of the resistance. Calling it a sliding scale, organizers promise to not turn away anybody for lack of funds, according to the event description.

A “Black & POC only event,” organizers are resisting capitalism, criminalization of marginalized communities, sexism, transphobia and slavery. While resisting, however, they urge attendees to “get lit” and “shake ya bum” to a myriad of musical acts planned for the day.