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Founder Fridays

Reclaiming American Patriotism

Harry here — founder of Keap. 

I have been thinking about the significance of the BLM protests, and the broader Awakening that’s happening across the U.S. and the globe. With July 4th around the corner, I wanted to share some personal thoughts on the American experience.

As a rootless “third culture” kid (born in the U.S., grew up in France and Italy), I had the privilege of choosing my adoptive country when I reached adulthood. I made a conscious decision to go with America, not because of America's economic & moral exceptionalism, or its culture of acceptance and innovation (myths which have all too clearly been shattered in recent years).

What made me want to become an active citizen of this country was not its present state or its past history, but its vision statement for the future—and the incredible stories of the individuals who have been nudging the arc of history slowly closer to its actualization. From indigenous leaders to environmentalists, from civil rights activists to community volunteers, from public defenders to election volunteers, …. I could keep going—suffice it to say that our country’s history has been filled with remarkable renegades, brimming with radical ideas and the courage to take action for the sake of “certain unalienable Rights”.

And while the contrast—the hypocrisy—between this vision statement and events in our history can feel overwhelming, that vision gives us our North Star for the future.

The American project is the continuing story of humankind’s liberation from violence and tyranny. 

Over the past 500 years, oppression has manifested itself primarily through the unjust systems of colonialism and white supremacy. Overthrowing these systems is in many ways part of a continuum thousands of years old, of mankind’s pursuit towards liberation and self-actualization. At the root of this liberation is learning not to seek answers from an outside authority that can hold power over us, but to find them within us. The element I find most encouraging about the BLM protests is this collective awakening. Amidst all the pain, suffering and trauma that has accumulated over the last few hundred years, is a renewed understanding among us that no authority is going to do the work of emancipation for its citizens; not public officials, not the media, certainly not the police. WE the people are the only ones that can bend that arc of justice and liberty.  

I am so grateful to those who participated in the recent protests across the country in support of Black lives. You make me proud to be American. You make me proud to be human. Thank you. Let’s continue to build towards a compassionate vision of American greatness. Happy Juneteenth!

— Harry

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