I’ve found tears running down my face a lot lately. I don’t like to say I cry easily, but I’ve found my face wet when I’m very angry, I really shouldn’t watch movies without a box of tissues, and just scrolling Facebook has me weeping again.

These are trying times. We don’t know much about Covid-19, and at least where I am, the rules change by the minute, and those making and enforcing said “suggestions” are playing do as I say, not as I do. Everyone was on edge long before George Floyd’s murder brought racism back to the forefront, and now, transgender people have lost ground and critical protections, all while statues are falling (on people, in rivers…) and businesses that managed to weather the first round of the Covid crisis are facing looters…

It’s all so very personal and hard, but I’m learning so much.

I’ve always loved history… the good, the bad, the ugly. Despite my newfound ignorance, I had two of the most remarkable “history” teachers ever in Mrs. Landis and Mrs. Bailey, and my father had a special passion for the Civil War, so there was much taught at home too. And still, so much was not even mentioned:

Loving vs. Loving, in a nutshell, happened next door. I have family in and/or around Caroline County, and probably did in 1958 too, and yet NO ONE, not at home, not at school, not even in DC where I went to college, bothered to mention that the couple that took interracial marriage to the Supreme Court came from RIGHT HERE. In fact, no one mentioned it at all, until A Mighty Girl (amazing resource!) trotted out Loving Day (June 12) on Facebook this week.

It’s my new favorite holiday. If you’ve watched or read Outlander, Game of Thrones, Vikings, etc., blended relationships have been a challenge for the ages, but we’re all the same (heart, soul, mind) inside, so I’m grateful that Mildred and Richard Loving were brave enough to buck the system and make it legal for us to love whom we love.

Juneteeth I guess was mentioned in a round about way in school, but barely. I remember the Emancipation Proclamation being a big deal every single time it fit into the timeline, but we glossed right over the fact news traveled super-slow (!?) back then, and there is still no clear-cut explanation as to how the war ended and yet, they were ignorant of the end of slavery until military force enlightened everyone.

The Tulsa Greenwood massacre was more than just an entire city district burning, but I’m shocked it wasn’t mentioned in school, especial in my fire service education. We talked of other mass-casualty fires in big cities, but somehow, that one never came up. I’m grateful a friend also shared that story on Facebook, because my ignorance sincerely thought the deep south bore the brunt of the 20th century race riots. Now I need to know what else we weren’t taught in the name of not inciting a riot or whatever the motivation was…

And we should all emulate Peter Norman. I grew up hearing about the Olympics and racial injustice, and I’m pretty sure I could draw the Gold/Bronze winners of that legendary 200 meter race from memory, gloved fists in the air. I was a 200 M gal myself, and my beloved, inspiring coach raced with/knew Carlos and Smith, so I THOUGHT I knew the details. Once again, it took a dear friend sharing the link (Facebook, my new history teacher?!) for me to learn that his name was Peter Norman and he wasn’t just standing there, ignorant of the powerful protests at his back. If you only click on one of those links, let Peter Norman be the one.

Sometimes, presence is power. Peter Norman’s story made me weep and makes me want to ALWAYS stand in solidarity with those who are fighting injustice.

2 thoughts on “Salty

  1. I love that Peter Norman requested that the statue at San Jose State have an empty pedestal representing where he had stood–so that people could have their pictures taken with those two raised fists to the air behind them and envision the better world they want to create.

    He was an incredible human being. And so are his two friends.


  2. Oh Channon. Im sorry for the tears. They show how much you care, however. I will need to look into a few of the things you mentioned Loving Vs. Virginia. That i want to check into. I wonder …well, Al probably has already.

    I love your state. I loved going to Monticello, and taking the slave tour. I was so naive. Catholic school stresses the wrong things in so many ways. THey missed the boat on many levels. Not sure how many Old TEstament classes one really needs when you could be learning how brave people recently changed lives forever for the better! I know NOah and the Ark was important, but how about once. Because you have to listen to Old testament and Psalms and NEw Testament every single week in church on Sundays as Catholic.

    That said, Bishop Wilton Gregory, was just a deacon in our church when I was in 8th grade. And we all loved Mike Plfaeger who has spent his life since Our church days in the 70s, leadng Black Lives and Black rights at St. Sabina’s in the city. MIke was a deacon in our church too.

    Anyhow, that’s the Catholic take, from kathy b, who hasnt been to mass since my dads funeral.


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