Beyond the movie, this moment in our history is one of many that ought not be forgotten, whether or not it's perceived as a convenient or comfortable time. It depicts the true story of Richard and Mildred Loving, an interracial couple from Virginia who were legally married on June 2, 1958, in Washington D.C. However, their marriage was considered to be illegal in their home state. Upon receiving an anonymous tip, the county sheriff and deputies raided their house in the middle of the night. They were told their marriage license was null and void under Virginia's 400-year-old anti-miscegenation laws, and were jailed.
On Saturday I went to a Peace Rally in my city. The #MyBlackHasAPurpose event was the first of its kind that I had ever attended. I was restless leading up to it. I couldn’t sleep the night before. I knew how I hoped and prayed it would go, but what if? What if? What if??... My husband and I decided to attend as a family, which only led to another layer of uncertainty... I was unsure about a lot of things. Yet, I knew none of my questions would be answered if I didn’t do the one thing that would lead to all the rest: I needed to show up and take that first step.
Maybe the Black person in your life is the one closest to you. Your very best friend. The one you sleep with, have cultivated a family with and your view of the future always includes them. Maybe you’re not THAT close, 😉 but you do have some amazing Black friends, or acquaintances, or you attend the same church and even sit together on the same pew! Whatever the dynamics are, have you ever thought that you were somehow excused from that whole “race conversation” because of the Black people/person in your lives and their proximity to you?
How can this feel right when we have been urged and instructed to stay home unless absolutely necessary as an effort to flatten the curve? When our schools have been cancelled for the remainder of this year (through May at the very least), and we’re learning to teach our children against the background of a pandemic? When healthcare providers and a myriad of other essential workers are putting themselves at risk to continue doing their job? How does one comprehend this when Georgia still has a shelter-in-place order through April 30th, but the supposed good news is we can break free a little early in order to get our nails and hair did?
Today is the first day of the NEA’s Read Across America (RAA) week, and for the second year in a row I’ve sent emails to my children’s teachers and school administration informing them that my daughters would not be participating in activities that are centered around Dr. Seuss. This was not an easy decision, nor was it one that my husband and I made lightly, but it’s the step we knew was right for us after “knowing better” about the legacy of Theodor "Dr. Seuss" Geisel.
The older I get, the more significance this day bears. I am more keenly aware than ever about how far our country has come, yet how far we truly still have to go. My eyes are open to things I didn’t see before (or perhaps didn’t want to), and now, more than ever, I am committed to being an active participant in bringing about the type of change that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. envisioned. The type of change he was murdered for. The type of change that is paramount as I consider my family, the future of my daughters, and for generations to come. At the same time, a bit of trepidation has crept in with each passing year as this day approaches.