Desi 4th: South Asian Americans Celebrate Independence Day With Parades, Barbecues and Fireworks
- While the mood was celebratory, it was overshadowed by the July 4 shootings in a Chicago suburb and Philadelphia, as well as by the Jan. 6 insurrection hearings and turmoil over high court rulings on abortion and guns.
South Asian Americans came out in large numbers to mark the 246th anniversary of the independence of the United States of America. They participated in parades, hosted backyard barbecues and watched the sky erupt in red, white and blue fireworks.
While the mood was celebratory, it was overshadowed by the shootings in Highland Park, Illinois, and Philadelphia. Also weighing on people’s minds is the highly polarized and bi-partisan political landscape, as the country is grappling with the Jan. 6 insurrection hearings and turmoil over high court rulings on abortion and guns.
Some were optimistic about the country’s democracy and its future, while others, especially women, took to their social media on July 4 to highlight their loss of independence due to the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe V. Wade. The hashtag “not happy 4th” was trending on social media.
Celebrity chef Padma Lakshmi’s tweet captured the mood of many. “Not much to celebrate this 4th, I’m afraid,” she tweeted. “Let’s just hope everyone can keep safe and peaceful today and that soon our nation veers away from this precipice.” She promised “to keep fighting for the day where all humans have the same rights, at least of their own person and body, have privacy to make their own choices and to love whom they love and live in peace.”
Despite the challenges facing the country’s democracy, several lawmakers, prominent members of the community and groups marked in various Independence Day parades across the country.
Cincinnati Mayor Aftab Pureval joined the Independence Day parade and mingled with the crowd. “As we celebrate this Independence Day, we must remember that freedom for all requires people who continue to stand up for it. We cannot back down from fighting for the rights of every American.”
In Burlington, New Jersey, a large contingent representing Indian Americans of Burlington marched at the annual July 4th parade. “Thank you Burlington town committee and all IAB volunteers for making this another memorable event,” the group posted on its Facebook page.
A day earlier, New Jersey State Sen. Vin Gopal marched at the Ocean Grove July 4 parade.
All the way on the other coast, in California, Sion Roy, a cardiologist at Harbor UCLA Hospital, marched at the annual Santa Monica Independence Day parade. “Was a joy to represent Santa Monica College at the annual Santa Monica Independence Day parade today,” he wrote in a July 4 post on his Facebook page.
On the state’s East Bay, San Ramon City Councilwoman Sabina Zafar met constituents at several parades in the valley.
Republican Kartik Bhatt, who ran for Georgia’s Labor Commissioner in last month’s primary, marched with the Cobb County GOP in Marietta’s Fourth of July Parade. In 2019, Bhatt was appointed to the Georgia Board of Examiners for the Certification of Water and Wastewater Treatment Plant Operators and Laboratory Analysts.
Meanwhile, Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.), who represents the state’s 8th Congress District, condemned the Highland Park attack. “I feel deep pain, sadness, and anger for the families of the deceased and the injured from the Highland Park shooting,” he said in a statement. “This scene has repeated itself over and over again because of the unfettered access to weapons of war. What was supposed to be a celebration of our freedom and unity today turned into yet another bloody massacre. This reminds us that until we have sensible, nationwide regulation of firearms, nowhere and nobody is truly safe.”