June 12th is Loving Day

This year’s Loving Day (2017) marks the 50th anniversary of the1967 United States Supreme Court decision Loving v. Virginia which struck down all anti-miscegenation laws remaining in sixteen U.S. states. Learn more at LovingDay.org.

What has changed in 50 years?

According to a new Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data, in 2015, 17% –one in six– of all U.S. newlyweds had a spouse of a different ethnicity, marking more than a fivefold increase since 1967, when 3% of newlyweds were intermarried.

In observance of Loving Day,  Nathan I connected with Brett & Anjelica to candidly talk about marriage, family, and life in 2017. Though we have never met in person and are on opposite coasts (USA), we discover that we have a lot in common. This was fun!

 

Reading, Writing, and (overt) Racism: the new normal school day?

This is the beginning of an intricate text conversation I had this morning with my cousin, who is a wife, mom of two, and an award winning educator.

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I was furious and heart broken! But not wanting to jump to conclusions, I held myself back from blaming this hideous presidential campaign we endured for the last two years. You know, the one that breathed life into the fear-driven, hate-induced rhetoric that successfully accomplishes its mission of divide and conquer.

So, as you see in the text thread, I asked “Has anything like this ever happened before?” Again, trying to be objective, I deleted the extension of my question that read “before the president-elect’s campaign?” Of course, I knew the answer. But my desperate optimism was holding out for an equally dark but somehow more hopeful response like,

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‘What LIES Between Us’ — What Does Love Sound Like?

In line with our mission to encourage, equip and empower families to engage in healing and life-giving conversations about race, we offer a group experience called What LIES Between Us. The facilitated sessions, journal, and content are designed to foster first steps toward racial healing. Currently, the sessions are being hosted by Ann Fields. The participants are primarily her neighbors, friends and others who longed to connect to our conversation. 

Here is a peak inside our first session of What Lies Between Us: Fostering first steps toward racial healing

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Creating the space and setting the tone for a healthy experience is essential. Before guests crossed her threshold, Ann Fields had dedicated much time and attention to cultivating a healing atmosphere. She lovingly invited her guests, asked them to bring a dish to share, thoughtfully prayed for them and over her home, labored over the perfect oils and flowers that would release soothing fragrances, arranged the chairs in such a way to foster connection, recruited our teenagers to help take care of our smaller children. (The children were free to join with us adults and/or enjoy all of the play spaces, including the trampoline and zip-line. Fun!)

So, the first session had no choice, but to go well. Here are a few highlights.

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I presented the introduction and rationale for why the sessions are formatted and structured this way.  Most would agree that they have not engaged in group discussions or workshops on race in this way. The rationale is spelled out in the Introduction of the Journal and Guide

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Creative expression with crayons and story telling through a children’s book helped to disarm ‘race talk’ anxiety. Most people in this group, prior to this session, had not met. Some didn’t even know the hostess.  So, this activity helped us to warm up to each other.

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Our artist-in-residence, Micaila-Ayorinde Milburn-Thomas, led us in a music expression we call ‘What Does Love Sound Like?” We created a four-part harmonious consonance to embody the sound of unity. We sang beautiful melodies created from our individual explanations about why we’d chosen to participate

Respect..we want it.

We’re here to love one another.

I am the healer. I came here to heal.

Then our unity was interrupted by a ‘clanging symbol’ which created a cacophony. We were able to embody what a cacophony feels like. We were reminded that ultimately, we get to choose which vibration we want to release into the world–consonance or cacophony.

To reflect on what we experienced during our time together, we committed to completing chapter one ‘Believe Differently reflective journaling. Introspection fosters maturity from within.

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For the next three weeks, we will learn about the invention, history and legacy of race.

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Shalom.