As I take a quick break from Independence Day festivities, I find myself reflecting on what the fourth of July really means to me.
Honestly, I’m not sure I’ve really thought about it before.
What made me suddenly think about this American holiday beyond barbecues, parades and summer fun? A blog post I just saw on BlogHer.
As I was resting on the couch with my two boys after coming in from some fun with water guns and the kiddie pool, I began perusing Facebook on my iPhone. My husband cooked, and the dogs rested quietly in the mud room. It was a long day of parades and fun with close friends. A day off due to the holiday.
And there it was. A blog post about a highly acclaimed blogger in Cuba who was not allowed to leave the country to accept an award.
Yoani Sanchez was chosen as this year’s recipient of the International BlogHer Activist Award. Sanchez is known for her bold criticism of the Castro regime and has been recognized by the New York Times and the U.S. Department of State, among other entities. Sanchez is being denied “permission to travel” by the Cuban Department of Interiors. For speaking her mind on her blog and through Twitter.
This is a woman who is making a difference in the world, and she’s considered a criminal in her own country. How amazing is it that I can have my own voice, my own blog in my little world here in the Northeast corner of America.
Since I started blogging in 2007, I’ve realized how small the blogosphere can be. How easy it is to connect to people all around the world simply though my computer. Through my own voice. Just last week, my husband and I pitched in to help a little girl in Canada with a rare disease. All because of a blog we follow. The goal was to raise $17,000. The readers of The Chive killed that goal within two hours.
So, instead of vegging out on the couch before heading out for fireworks, I sit here and type on my computer. Thankful for the opportunity to blog. To write. To have my voice heard without fear.
The fourth of July is all about celebrating freedom and independence here in America.
I can only hope that the Cuban government will change its mind and allow Sanchez to travel to the United States and receive her award. Who knows, maybe if more of us write about it, they will. If not, at least we’ll be heard.
And Yoani Sanchez will blog on.