This year’s 4th of July celebration comes at a time of political and social unrest that may not have everyone feeling all that red, white, and blue. David asked community leaders and personalities about how they feel about Independence Day and how they celebrate it.

Roger Rutkowski
Founder of the Socializer’s Club

“Margaret Thatcher summed it up best when she said, ‘Europe was created by history. America was created by philosophy.’ As we celebrate the birth of this great nation, we must always reflect on the principles on which it was founded. Our unalienable rights: Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

Jon Dean

Owner of WUSSY Mag

“The idea of Independence Day is as fictitious as the 1996 alien invasion movie starring Will Smith. We do have a lot to be grateful for this year, though – Britney is free, and we are all free of Pat Robertson (she died). I’ll celebrate when Cop City is shut down!”


Drag Entertainer and Showgirl

“Personally, I have never truly celebrated the Fourth of July for the reasons of the holiday. As someone who is a marginalized person of various identities, celebrating the Fourth of July has never felt deserved or possible. Typically, I spend the fourth with friends and family enjoying space with each other and sharing food and quality time. I think, especially after this year’s Pride month and having dealt with so much discrimination through legislation, I will use the Fourth of July as another moment for rest and community.”

Vicki Powell

DJ (Deep South ATL)

“Honestly, I’m not feeling super patriotic with everything going on right now, so for me it’s a time to gather with my close friends and chosen family to celebrate and fight for our community. As a true defender and patriot of the forest, and in the memory of Tortuguita, I stand with the fight to end police brutality and against Cop City to protect America’s largest urban forest in my beloved Atlanta, Georgia – a black city with black leadership.”

Bentley Hudgins (SHI) (they/them)

Organizer, Strategist, and Performer 

“As a Japanese-American and queer person, I find days like July 4th difficult. I am not blindly proud of America. We have a history marred by genocide, racism, and capitalism- but we also are full of people who have been fighting against injustice as well. On this Independence Day, I will be resting in the legacy of freedom fighters like Malcolm X, Yuri Kochiyama, and so many more in this country who organized to bring Justice. I will be uplifting the Stop Cop City referendum campaign, the work to protect the Okefenokee Swamp from mining companies, and the need to close the Atlanta City Detention Center. What gives me hope for the future is the countless organizers, artists, strategists, and neighbors who have a strong vision of what America could and should be.”

Stacy Brown

President, For The Kid In All of Us 

“I spend my 4th of July each year with family and friends!  We get up early and watch the Peachtree Road Race and cheer on my partner as he runs by. Later, we go to a friend’s cookout and catch the fireworks as they illuminate the wonderful city of Atlanta!” 

Chris McCain
Executive Director, Atlanta Pride Committee
This Fourth of July doesn’t feel so celebratory to many of us. Across the country and right here in Georgia, our freedoms and rights as LGBTQ+ people are under attack. This Independence Day, I’ll be reflecting on the many LGBTQ+ pioneers who fought hard and paved the way for our community. And whose work we must continue—especially now.”