10/12/2020 On the Shoulders of Giants, Part 2 – By Pastor Katie

As I said in my last post, On the Shoulders of Giants Part 1, our stories don’t happen in a vacuum. Our lives are not solely our own, but rather they are shaped by those who have come and gone before us.

Generations ago, my family immigrated from all over Western Europe in search of the American Dream, a better life, security, and a place to create a future for their family. 

A generation ago, a couple who I have never met fell in love, got married and when they returned home were arrested for being married. Their marriage is the reason my marriage is legal today. 

The Lovings, Mildred and Richard, met and courted for seven years before they were married in Washington, DC in 1958. When they returned home to Virginia they were arrested because Mildred was considered “colored” – she was of African and Rappahannock (First Nations) heritage, and Richard was considered white. 

At the time, Virginia was one of the several states that still upheld laws against interracial marriages. It wasn’t just marriages between Blacks and whites, but many states restricted and/or forbade relationships with Asians, First Nations people, Hispanics, and other ethic groups. 

I cannot imagine being told that I couldn’t marry the love of my life because we don’t have the same skin color. 

The Lovings plead guilty and when given the choice between imprisonment and banishment to another state, they chose to leave the state of Virginia. Mildred sent a letter to the Attorney General of the United States, Robert F. Kennedy. 

The letter was then forwarded to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in New York where two attorneys took up the case for free. Their case went through the many levels of the justice system before reaching the Supreme Court. 

Then, on June 12, 1967, after nine years of struggle, the Court decided unanimously in their favor, Chief Justice Earl Warren said, “Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual, and cannot be infringed by the State.”

June 12 is Loving Day in honor of the freedom hard won by the Lovings that allows so many couples and families to celebrate their love and create their lives together. 

The life and legacy of the Lovings allows me to live as I do today, it allows my family to create our life together, and I am so grateful for our love and the life we share. 

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love…Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us. – 1 John 4:7-8, 11-12

You can find out more at LovingDay.org

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