As we prepare to celebrate another Fourth of July, we must never forget the ideals that our founding foreparents fought for.

The United States Constitution underscores our most fundamental values and our innate universal rights to freedom, liberty and opportunity. It guarantees us the right to speak freely, engage in civil protest, and participate in the democratic process. However, we must never take these personal liberties for granted as we must work to maintain human and civil rights for all.

At times, the dream that was promised, may seem like the dream deferred, but, it is our duty to keep our eyes on the prize and hold her accountable for all the civil liberties we are owed. This past year has demonstrated the strength of our collective movements, but, we’ve also witnessed the dismantling of systems and protections that guarantee our most fundamental rights. Individuals have spoken out, through protest and through the ballot box, and fought back against those who wish to see the freedoms and rights of this country limited to only the selected few.

242 years ago, we declared ourselves free, but, the fight for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness in this country, simply began with that declaration, it did not end there. From ending family separation, to guaranteeing women the right to rule over their bodies, to ending mass incarceration and bringing more economic and educational opportunities to our communities, there’s so much more work left to do.

Even when the last firework burns its final flame in the crystal blue sky, let it not curb the fire we feel inside to recognize and call out injustice. We must not rest until there is equity and justice for all.

Happy Independence Day.

Assembly Member Michael Blake