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Black Filmmaker Hesitant to Celebrate Independence Day in Light of Police Shootings

A black filmmaker wondered whether it was worth celebrating the Fourth of July, considering the recent acquittal of three police officers.

Christopher Philips, the creator of the unreleased “Ferguson 365” documentary, plans to attend a barbecue Tuesday with friends and family like he has done over the years, reports the Associated Press.

But Philips says he is a little hesitant to celebrate the founding of America, considering that three officers were acquitted in June for fatally shooting black men. Minnesota police officer Jeronimo Yanez was cleared of fatally shooting Philando Castile, a black gun owner, and a Milwaukee officer and an Ohio cop were also cleared of their fatal shootings.

“Justice apparently doesn’t apply to all people,” Philips said. “A lot of people have lost hope.”

Janette McClelland, a black New Mexico musician, refuses to celebrate July 4 because it is a “white man’s holiday.”

“It’s a white man’s holiday to me. It’s just another day,” she said. “I’m not going to even watch the fireworks. Not feeling it.”

Writer Michael Coard also argued that black people shouldn’t celebrate Independence Day in an op-ed for The Philadelphia Tribune.

“The Declaration of Independence asserts, ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness,’” Coard wrote. “Despite that, slavery was legal in the 13 colonies, which means 20 percent of the population was held in brutal bondage without liberty or happiness or a real life.”

Because the Founding Fathers were racists, says Coard, he believes that black people also should avoid the holiday.

“Thomas Jefferson — who was the primary drafter of the Declaration of Independence — enslaved 175 Black women, men, and children in 1776 and 267 by 1822. Also, he was a racist pedophile who began raping Sally Hemings when she was 14-years-old. And he impregnated her seven times,” Coard said.