Graphic via Desirée Tapia for COURIER What Is Freedom
Graphic via Desirée Tapia for COURIER

As we enter the second half of 2020, the United States is hardly recognizable. Maybe that’s a good thing.

It’s a Fourth of July unlike any other. 

As of Thursday, more than 127,000 Americans have died from the novel coronavirus, and all signs suggest the leader of this country has pretty much given up the fight. States are closing down again as cases rise in most states, people are losing jobs, and the future is uncertain.

Meanwhile, Americans’ opinions about police brutality and racial injustice have changed dramatically since George Floyd was killed by police on Memorial Day. Thanks to historic protests that swept the nation calling for change, lawmakers at the county, state, and national level are considering ways to address systemic racism in police departments and beyond.

Indeed, as we enter the second half of 2020, the United States is hardly recognizable. 

Maybe that’s a good thing.

While Independence Day may be about celebrating freedom and the birth of this nation, too many of us don’t truly know what it means to be free—not in the truest definition of the word. Too many of us are still constrained by societal structures that are often too big to wrap our heads around, and often too powerful to dismantle quickly. 

That’s why we asked writers representing different communities to weigh in on the topic: What does freedom really look like for them?

The writers in this series discuss a range of topics, from dealing with everyday racism and growing up impoverished and food insecure to living with a widely misunderstood mental health disorder, and more. 

As we continue to grapple with all of the uncertainty 2020 has brought, it’s more important than ever to remember the words of civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer, who said in 1971 during one of her most famous speeches, “Nobody’s free until everybody’s free.”

I’m a Queer Black Woman. This Is What Freedom Means to Me.

I Left Mexico for the U.S. More Than 20 Years Ago. This Is What Freedom Means to Me.

I’m a Black Prepper. This Is What Freedom Means to Me.

I Live With Schizophrenia. This Is What Freedom Means to Me.

I’m a Black Woman From the South. This Is What Freedom Means to Me.

My Bengali Family Survived Colonization. This Is What Freedom Means to Me.