I am still not a political person, but I am proud that Richard’s and my name is on a court case that can help reinforce the love, the commitment, the fairness, and the family that so many people, black or white, young or old, gay or straight seek in life. I support the freedom to marry for all. That’s what Loving, and loving, are all about.” –Mildred Loving
Today is Loving Day. It commemorates the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that legalized interracial marriage in this country. The case was Loving v. Virginia. The court issued its decision in 1967. That’s only 53 years.
Today is also the day that Medgar Evers, a civil rights activist working in Mississippi, was assassinated. He was only 37. He was a World War II veteran. He was murdered in 1963. That’s only 57 years.
Today also marks the anniversary of a mass shooting at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. 49 people were killed, and it was deemed a terrorist attack by the US government. It happened in 2016.
When I was in first grade, I had a boyfriend. I don’t remember a lot about him, but I have a vivid memory of walking up and down the gym floor, holding his hand and smiling. My skin is almost scary white. If I were a condiment, I’d be mayonnaise. My boyfriend was black. We were “boyfriend and girlfriend” for less than a day, because later, after the hand-holding in the gym, someone told me that some people don’t like it when black people and white people are together, and they might be mean to me. It scared me, and made me feel like I’d done something wrong. This happened in Virginia, in 1992.
When I was in high school, I was part of an amazing community theater. It was just good fun to be up on a stage, in a costume, singing and dancing. But even then, and especially looking back on it, I saw what inclusiveness, what love and listening, could mean to kids who were afraid to be themselves, because they’d been told by the churches in the area that who they were and what they wanted was something evil and abominable. No one should ever be afraid that way.
I’ve had trouble writing much of anything lately. My heart and mind are not in it, and I feel like my (white, straight) voice is not the voice for this moment. I don’t even know what to say, really. These hurts are not in some faraway past. They are now. Ruby Bridges, the first child to desegregate an all-white school, is only 65-years-old. George Floyd died a free citizen of this country, deserving of every single right and privilege that entails, with a knee on his neck in the street, pleading to breathe. He was murdered on May 25th. That’s less than a month ago. The Trump administration has rolled back health protections for LGBTQ people. It was announced today.
As we celebrate Loving Day today, I’m thinking of how far we still have to go here in the U.S. before we truly love all of our people, and before all citizens have the equal protection under the law that they deserve, and before all lives truly do matter.
I decided several years ago, when I started this blog, that I would try to stay away from politics. I wanted to write about reading and writing and ideas and crazy adventures. And I didn’t want to ruffle feathers. I’ve spent a very large chunk of my life trying not to ruffle feathers, worrying about saying the wrong thing. But I cannot stay silent, especially today, especially now, and sit complicit on the wrong side of history. Make no mistake – what’s happening now is a fight for America’s soul, and it’s been going on for a long, long time. This is not about politics. This is about humanity.
“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.” –The Declaration of Independence