The 4th of July is when we celebrate our independence and our assertion as a democratic country. It is true we all get a holiday/day off which is a great thing. To not lose sight of the importance of this date to our fore bearers, ourselves and our future generations as well as how it impacts Penny Lane Centers and our communities, we should take a few minutes to reflect.
It is unfortunately a time of great divide in our country. Our founders always welcomed differing views in political ideology but hoped that discourse would be civil. Recent events in our country including but not limited to the January 6, 2021, assault on our Capital have displayed how polarized we are today. This has impacted us all to some extent. Many of us currently live with differing levels of fear as we are actively “targeted” be it for ethnic status, sexuality, citizenship status, race, religion, or in some cases for their political leanings. On June 24th the Supreme Court struck down Roe v Wade which legalized abortion over the last 49 years. 26 States have laws that this decision will trigger which will make any abortion for any reason illegal eliminating a woman’s right to choose and control her own body. The impact of just these two things are so far reaching and detrimental that it can’t even be fully appreciated. In the supporting opinion(s) to the Supreme Court decision to end Roe v Wade the same Supreme Court opened the door for striking down interracial marriage, same sex marriage and even birth control. Most Americans when poled support all these things but currently we are living through a time where instead of moving forward and forging a society that is more equal, inclusive, and expansive of the rights of all Americans we are seeing restriction of rights and a small vocal and powerful minority making decisions that impacts us all. All of this is exacerbated by years of the Covid Pandemic and its physical, sociological, and psychological aftereffects. This all impacts us at Penny Lane as the people impacted are not only employees of Penny Lane but many of our clients and communities.
July 4th is a day of picnics, fireworks, patriotism, and family fun. It must be as that is how the commercials portray it. I hope everyone enjoyed their day however they chose to celebrate it, but I also hope that it was more than that for us all. Right now, we need to all reaffirm our commitment on the “big picture” level to doing our part to be responsible citizens of the United States of America by voting, being open to dialog and reaffirming our commitment to our founders’ ideals of freedom, liberty, and justice for ALL. Despite all the drawbacks I am grateful to live in California where our State government is working to protect the rights that are currently being denied to us by the latest and impending Supreme Court decisions. It is a sad state of affairs when the rights of gun owners are more important to many than women’s rights or LGBTQIA+ rights or the rights of those that have been so negatively impacted by the outcome of protection of those gun rights. We need to stop and look and care for our neighbors and even people we don’t know and stop the erosion of rights and liberty as if you are not currently in the sights of this minority you soon will be, make no mistake.
Looking at it as to how it impacts us on micro/Penny Lane level we need to appreciate that not just our clients but all of us are impacted as mentioned and how do we move beyond our own fears and concerns to be better able to help the many in our care who depend on us to be there for them especially now during emotionally trying times. Penny Lane has done amazing work since its inception but even more so throughout the pandemic meeting the numerous challenges the pandemic created. Wendy Carpenter our CEO reminded the management group recently that “we managed the pandemic well but now it is time to reassert ourselves as leaders in the social services field.” Hopefully this day of celebration and reflection on independence will inspire us all to move forward, to lead, to innovate, and to offer the best of ourselves in service to others. After all that’s the Penny Lane way.