Love isn’t always easy, neither are relationships, there’s no denying that. However, I never imagined a day where I would feel uneasy and anxious in my own relationship .. my interracial relationship. A day where it feels like society, primarily white society, has sat silently for far too long, and in turn, is a threat to the love I feel and have felt.
I’ve been reminded of being witness to passive and covert racism over the years. Reminded of feeling powerless in the moments that I should have been powerful. Of the pain and failure of not protecting, not speaking up for, the one I loved. Seconds and moments that I will forever carry with me.
I’ve, too, thought a lot about Loving v. Virginia, and even Obergefell v. Hodges, two landmark decisions of the United States Supreme Court that have impacted my life. Two decisions that were made in the month of June, forty-eight years separating them.
Loving v. Virginia ruled state laws banning interracial marriage unconstitutional. Richard and Mildred Loving, in the middle of the night 1958, were pulled from their bed and arrested for violating Virginia’s “Racial Integrity Act of 1924”. The choice in front of them, be jailed for one year or leave the state for 25. They chose the latter and moved to D.C., which recognized their “illegal” marriage. Upon arrest a second time, as they visited family in their home state, Mildred decided to fight back. She, in 1963, wrote Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, and the uphill battle began. Four years later, the unanimous decision was the law of the land, striking down the bans in 16 states (including Virginia).
We are living and (hopefully) actively engaging in another historic and momentous uprising. Albeit, an uprising, a time in life, that’s given me pause. A pause that is unfamiliar, and even frightening, but one I cannot allow defeat me. One that cannot defeat us.
So, like Mildred, we have to fight. We must fight. We cannot let up. We cannot relent.
The effort .. the conversation .. the movement .. is only beginning.