The land of equal opportunities

written by Tanner Page

     On July 4, 1776 The Declaration of Independence was written. This freed all American citizens from Great Britain. Fifteen years later, The Bill of Rights was written. This stated every citizen’s rights and is ultimately what made America unique from all other countries. These amendments are what gave America the reputation of the greatest country in the world.  “The Land of the Free” is what America supposedly was and has been called for generations. In the beginning that seemed to be true. People from all over began to immigrate to this amazing country for new beginnings and unlimited opportunities. The end of slavery came and slowly more communities came out of hiding. 

     February 23, 2020 a black man jogging through a neighborhood in Glynn County, Georgia was violently shot dead by a white father and son who chased the man through the streets. They later claimed they thought he was a burglar. The innocent man’s name was Ahmaud Arbery.

    The end of slavery was one of the biggest historical events in American history. It opened countless doors for people in the black community. People were legally forbidden to treat these humans as animals. Whites were forced to accept them into their daily lives as they were hired into normal day jobs. Though free, races were still separated with boundaries such as “colored only” bathrooms and “whites only” drinking fountains. Schools were separated by race and low class jobs were only occupied by those of color. America would fully become integrated in 1948. Along with the freedom of slaves, America started the early stages of accepting others whose lives were previously in danger due to prejudice.

     January 9th, 2018 a man was found near his old elementary school, stabbed nineteen times. It was later found out to be done by a former classmate who he met up with. The classmate was linked to a neo-nazi organization. The innocent man’s name was Blaze Bernstein, an openly gay, jewish man.

     The White Horse is thought to be the first functional gay and lesbian bar in America. Though not being labeled as a gay bar in 1933 as same-sex relationships were a felony, it was known to be a safe place for members of the LGBTQ+ community. The bar was completely on the downlow. Visitors still had to watch themselves in the establishment. No touching, no overt talk, and no flamboyant talk for the males. Come 1961, Illinois became the first state to throw away the anti-sodomy laws and decriminalized homosexuality. In 1977, New York Supreme Court ruled that Reneé Richards, a transgender woman, could play at the Unites States Open tennis tournament as a woman. It wasn’t until June 26, 2015 that same sex marriage was legalized in all states. America was supposed to provide opportunities for everyone regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, etc. 

     May 25, 2018 a transgender woman died in custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. She immigrated from Honduras  and came to America seeking asylum after fleeing her country where she suffered from abuse and multiple rapes. The woman was infected with HIV and informed officials of it. An autopsy later showed signs of physical abuse under the skin around the ribs area and dehydration. No video evidence was found as it was deleted by ICE officials. This innocent woman’s name was Roxsana Hernández.

     As word went around the world of America’s freedom more and more people began to immigrate to the extraordinary country. In 1882, The Chinese Exclusion Act was passed. This barred Chinese immigrants from entrance into America. Originally they took up jobs mainly in agricultural, constructional, or mining jobs in the country. Though only making up 0.002 percent of America, at the time, white workers in similar fields blamed them for low wages so they were deported. Continuing on this, The Immigration Act of 1891 further excluded more from entering the United States. Polygamists, people convicted of certain crimes, and the sick or diseased were forbidden entrance. In January 1892, the first immigration station opened in the New York Harbor. More than 12 million immigrants would enter through this station. Mainly from countries similar to Ireland. In 1907 another rumor would spread of immigrants stealing jobs and causing the decline of wages. This time the speculation targeted Japanese workers. Theodore Roosevelt, the president at the time, pushed Japan into an agreement known as the Gentlemen’s Agreement. This limited Japanese emigration into the United States, mainly professional business men were allowed entrance into the land of equal opportunities. It wasn’t until the late 1900s where immigrants began being fully accepted as American citizens. In 1986 Ronald Regan pardoned more than 3 million immigrants who were living illegally on American soil. In 2001, the DREAM Act would fully come into place which allowed children to be brought into the United States by their undocumented parents, allowing them to live in America legally. March 1, 2003 Immigration and Customs Enforcement was created. The exact number of deaths that took place under their care is unknown. America did not provide those people the opportunities they deserved. 

     On May 25, 2020 a black man died after being forced to the ground by a Minneapolis police officer who then knelt on his neck for at least seven minutes while being handcuffed. The innocent man’s name was George Floyd.

     George Floyd is one of the many people who’s opportunities were stolen from America. The land of the free is being raided and occupied by hatred for those who do not fit the standards of being an American. Standards that were supposed to be erased decades ago but yet still seem to stand. The man who murdered George Floyd was not charged for his death. The officials who allowed the death of Roxsana Hernández were not charged. Courts ruled these as accidents yet somehow these “accidents” continuously keep being repeated over and over, time again. Justice in America does not exist and there are millions of upright U.S citizens who are proving that. Government officials have been killing innocent people for years, innocent black people, innocent LGBT people, innocent immigrants, innocent American citizens. Race is being weaponized. This is no longer a land of equal opportunities.

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