Dear Friend,

This weekend Tennesseans across the state will celebrate the 4th of July. It’s a day to celebrate freedom, but it also brings up some complicated feelings for people of color, especially Black folks, who know that freedom did not come for us all on July 4th, 1776.

As a Black man, I still celebrate the 4th as a commemoration of the possibility of America, a possibility I still believe in. Today, I see so many people in this state fighting hard to realize Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Beloved Community,” and I think the 4th of July is the perfect day to celebrate this work.

My feelings toward the 4th mirror Dr. King’s reflections on the holiday:

“When the architects of our great republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. […]

It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given its colored people a bad check, a check that has come back marked ‘insufficient funds.’

But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and security of justice.”

We know that our country and our state can be so much more than it is now, and it’s through continuing to fight to ensure that we elect leaders who will cash that check and pressure the defiant to cash that check that we fulfill the promise of America.

Happy 4th of July! May we all continue fighting to cash that check.

Fighting for freedom with you,

Brandon Thomas
Democratic Candidate Tennessee House District 49

PS: TNDP Chairwoman Mary Mancini interviewed Brandon recently about his candidacy and what his priorities will be as a state rep. Check it out.