Thursday, October 15, 2009

Loving For All

Here is Mildred Loving's 2007 statement in support of same-sex marriage on the 40th Anniversary of the Loving v. Virginia Supreme Court decision.

Loving for All
By Mildred Loving*

Prepared for Delivery on June 12, 2007,
The 40th Anniversary of the Loving vs. Virginia Announcement

When my late husband, Richard, and I got married in Washington, DC in 1958, it wasn't to make a political statement or start a fight. We were in love, and we wanted to be married. We didn't get married in Washington because we wanted to marry there. We did it there because the government wouldn't allow us to marry back home in Virginia where we grew up, where we met, where we fell in love, and where we wanted to be together and build our family. You see, I am a woman of color and Richard was white, and at that time people believed it was okay to keep us from marrying because of their ideas of who should marry whom.

When Richard and I came back to our home in Virginia, happily married, we had no intention of battling over the law. We made a commitment to each other in our love and lives, and now had the legal commitment, called marriage, to match. Isn't that what marriage is?

Not long after our wedding, we were awakened in the middle of the night in our own bedroom by deputy sheriffs and actually arrested for the "crime" of marrying the wrong kind of person. Our marriage certificate was hanging on the wall above the bed.

The state prosecuted Richard and me, and after we were found guilty, the judge declared: ""Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix." He sentenced us to a year in prison, but offered to suspend the sentence if we left our home in Virginia for 25 years exile.

We left, and got a lawyer. Richard and I had to fight, but still were not fighting for a cause. We were fighting for our love.

Though it turned out we had to fight, happily Richard and I didn't have to fight alone. Thanks to groups like the ACLU and the NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund, and so many good people around the country willing to speak up, we took our case for the freedom to marry all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. And on June 12, 1967, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that, "The freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men," a "basic civil right."

My generation was bitterly divided over something that should have been so clear and right. The majority believed that what the judge said, that it was God's plan to keep people apart, and that government should discriminate against people in love. But I have lived long enough now to see big changes. The older generation's fears and prejudices have given way, and today's young people realize that if someone loves someone they have a right to marry.

Surrounded as I am now by wonderful children and grandchildren, not a day goes by that I don't think of Richard and our love, our right to marry, and how much it meant to me to have that freedom to marry the person precious to me, even if others thought he was the "wrong kind of person" for me to marry. I believe all Americans, no matter their race, no matter their sex, no matter their sexual orientation, should have that same freedom to marry. Government has no business imposing some people’s religious beliefs over others. Especially if it denies people’s civil rights.

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.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

George Owell's Diaries

Since several of my classes just read and discussed Orwell's essay, "Politics and the English Language," thought it fitting to introduce The Orwell Diaries, which blogs George Orwell's diaries from 1938 to 1942 in real time. The blog's first post was August 9, 1938...the final post will be in 2012. What is so remarkable about this project is the insight it offers into the daily life of Eric Arthur Blair. The diaries hop-scotch from his straightforward observations and opinions as Europe descends into total war to his careful documentation of the minutiae of life on his small farm: discussions of tomatoes and broccoli, how to best to pick out-of-the-way fruit, and the numbers of eggs his chickens laid.

From the blog description:

‘When one reads any strongly individual piece of writing, one has the impression of seeing a face somewhere behind the page’, wrote George Orwell, in his 1939 essay on Charles Dickens.

Since 9th August 2008, The Orwell Prize has been blogging George Orwell’s diaries, allowing you to gather your own impression of Orwell’s face – behind the screen, rather than the page. Each diary entry is published on the blog exactly seventy years after it was originally written by Orwell...

What impression of Orwell will emerge? From his domestic diaries (which started on 9th August 2008), it may be a largely unknown Orwell, whose great curiosity is focused on plants, animals, woodwork, and – above all – how many eggs have been laid. From his political diaries (from 7th September 2008), it may be the Orwell whose political observations and critical thinking have enthralled and inspired generations since his death in 1950. Whether writing about the Spanish Civil War or sloe gin, geraniums or Germany, Orwell’s perceptive eye and rebellion against the ‘gramophone mind’ he so despised are obvious.

Orwell wrote of what he saw in Dickens: ‘He is laughing, with a touch of anger in his laughter, but no triumph, no malignity. It is the face of a man who is always fighting against something, but who fights in the open and is not frightened, the face of a man who is generously angry — in other words, of a nineteenth-century liberal, a free intelligence, a type hated with equal hatred by all the smelly little orthodoxies which are now contending for our souls.’

What will you see in the Orwell diaries?

Monday, September 7, 2009

Senator Al Franken Draws Map of US

Message to my in-coming government students: while I won't ask you to freehand a map of the US as Senator Al Franken of Minnesota so deftly demonstrates here, you soon will be faced with the challenge of labeling each state...maybe tomorrow...maybe Wednesday...sometime this week!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Talking Head Talks Bikes

As if I needed any other reason besides the Talking Heads to love David Byrne...

His new book, Bicycle Diaries, hits stores on Sept. 17th. It chronicles his adventures and insights on urban life gained from over 20 years of using a bicycle as his main mode of transportation in New York City and traveling the world with his fold-up bike.

Check out Byrne's blog. He's an amazing guy.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Here We Go

Blogging my classes...let's hope this helps address my greatest liabilities as a teacher: lack of organization and inability to manage paper.

Should also be fun to share and discuss just about anything we want to share and discuss.

So, let's do this!