The United States of America celebrates its 242nd year of independence from Britain, but somehow it still feels like we’re living in the 1700’s. With the constant atrocities happening in this country from children being caged by ICE to the violence towards black lives by police and everything in between, I’m struggling to find a sense of patriotism. Here are some recipes to lift your spirits and stay aware of these current events.
1. Buffalo Chicken Dip
Buffalo chicken dip is a personal favorite of mine. I like to use a slow cooker so it can stew all day while I worry about other things, like the fact that it’s been 8 months since Puerto Rico was devastated by Hurricane Maria and there’s still a long road of recovery ahead. Mainstream media seems to have given up coverage altogether (which was already minimal from the start) but millions of people are still affected by the natural disaster.
2. Vegan Pulled Pork Sandwiches
This plant-based recipe is packed with flavor and protein. You may be familiar with jackfruit as a substitute for pulled pork, but using lentils and carrots is an innovative way to recreate the consistency of pulled pork with a ton more protein than jackfruit. Whether you eat meat or not, I don’t care. You’re still invited to my 4th of July picnic because America is an all-inclusive melting pot that welcomes all races and religions.
Just kidding! The Supreme Court ruled in favor of Trump’s “Muslim ban” which targets predominantly Muslim countries. While the government cites “national security” as justification, Justice Sonya Sotomayor’s scathing dissent laid out the true motivation: the President’s anti-Muslim stance that he has reiterated time and time again.
3. Spicy Watermelon with Feta
This recipe is a perfect side salad to accompany your grill creations. It’s light, flavorful, and super easy to make.
Another easy thing should be the decision to allow immigrant women fleeing from gang violence and domestic violence into the U.S. However, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has announced new restrictions for those applying for asylum. These new rules will make it difficult or impossible for women to come to the U.S. for safety. Additionally, they could result in the deportation of abuse victims who are already here on asylum.
4. Dr. Pepper Baked Beans
Cooking baked beans to perfection from scratch typically takes 18-24 hours, but who has time for that? This recipe will give you delicious baked beans in just 40 minutes without sacrificing any flavors, thanks to the addition of Dr. Pepper.
But, I don’t really want to talk about baked beans, if I’m being honest. What we need to talk about is the violence experienced by black kids in this country far too regularly. For example, 14-year-old Brennan Walker was shot at by a retired firefighter when he missed his bus and approached the house to ask for directions. We need to talk about how in 2016 young black men were the victims of US police killings at the highest rate. nine times more than any other Americans. We need to talk about how the police killed 1,147 people in 2017, with black people making up 25% of the victims despite being only 13% of the population.
5. Berry-Patch Brownie Pizza
This dessert is sure to be a crowd pleaser as it offers a little something for everyone. Almond-infused brownie crust topped with a delicious cream cheese frosting and an assortment of berries makes this “pizza” that kids and adults alike will eat right up.
I usually love dessert, although personally, I don’t have much of an appetite at this point because it has been impossible to turn my attention away from the treatment of immigrant families in this country. ICE is currently detaining immigrant families and separating kids from their parents. While held at detention centers, children are facing all sorts of abuse at the hands of ICE officers, including sexual abuse.
Here’s the thing: you are allowed to enjoy the holiday and the time off with friends and family. You absolutely can try out these recipes and launch some fireworks. You deserve to relax by the pool. We as individuals cannot be expected to hold the weight of the world on our shoulders. However, it’s easy to turn a blind eye to social justice issues in this country, and it’s important to remember that atrocities don’t go away just because we’re not paying attention to them. Oppression is a systemic issue.
Let’s be mindful, empathetic, and check our privileges as we attempt to celebrate America this 4th of July.