My students like to ask me where I was when historical stuff happened. Most of them start somewhere in the 80’s, but some are smart asses and ask me where I was when Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. They fail my class, by the way.
But it’s always interesting to me how quiet students get when they get to hear a first-hand account of something from history.
Where were you when John Lennon was shot? I was only two, so probably at home.
What about when the Challenger exploded? I was elementary aged, but I don’t remember where I was. I remember it happening and that it was a significant event.
And when they torn down the Berlin wall? Again, elementary age, but I was told “This will be in history books,” and that shocked me.
How about when Kurt Cobain died? High school English class. We didn’t have MTV, so I hung on everything my friends told me. It was the first celebrity death that really affected me.
9-11? Teaching Exploratory Spanish to sixth graders.
Did you vote for Obama? Our first black president? I did. But not because he’s Black. Which is probably even more historical. People voted for him because they believe(d) in him.
Some day they might ask me last week’s SCOTUS ruling. My own kids might ask me too.
Because my own children–ages 6 years, 3 years, and 4 months–will never know what it’s like to not be able to marry who you love because of the law.
I was thinking about that the other day. My dad was born in 1950. Segregation was still a thing, although he probably didn’t see it first hand because of the tiny, almost all white, Michigan town he lived in (and we still live in). It wasn’t until he was seventeen years old that interracial marriage became legal.
I can’t imagine that now. We have interracial marriage right in our family and it’s hard to imagine that they were just not allowed to do it because of a dumb law just fifty-two years ago. There were people who vehemently opposed interracial marriage then mostly citing Biblical passages.
I never knew that time.
And my children will never know that gay marriage was not legal. They will not live through all of the hate-filled Facebook posts or people cherry-picking Bible verses to support their hate.
By the time Eddie and Charlie and Alice are at an age to get married, they won’t have to worry if the person they love is a different race or religion or the same sex. They can marry that person and enjoy all the same government benefits as us straight white people.
I’m not a political blog even though I am a political person.
I don’t strive to be a controversial blog, even though in real life I will discuss hot topics with you all day long.
I don’t always write about the latest news items, but this one had me thinking about my parents and the history-making events and decisions that they lived through: Desegregation, Roe vs Wade, Vietnam, Watergate, the JFK assassination, etc. I wonder what it would be like to have their thoughts from when those things happened.
And so, because this is history that I thought my children would like to have my thoughts on, I am saying this: I am proud of the Supreme Court. I am proud of this decision.
We still have a long way to go in our country as far as eliminating prejudice and awarding equal rights to everyone. I have family, friends, colleagues, former students, and current students who face difficulties every day because of who they are. They fight for rights that should be theirs just by being citizens of the USA.
I am an ally to those people.
I want to teach my children to be allies as well. To have compassion and open ears for all people.
Where was I when love won? I was at the park with my three children. I saw the decision on my phone and I looked up to see Eddie and Charlie engaging with all the kids who were there. In fact, I watched as Eddie approached the only Black family at the park and asked the little girl if she wanted to play tag with everyone. I watched Charlie run past a kid who fell only to turn around and hand the kid his shoe back.
It’s cheesy to say, but my eyes got all teary. My kids already seem to know that Love Wins. And I am just optimistic enough to think that as a country, we are heading in the right direction.