Shabbat Shalom from Rabbi Cohen - Loving Day
Today is Loving Day – the anniversary of the Supreme Court striking down state bans on interracial marriage in 1967. Richard and Mildred Loving, ordinary citizens who simply wanted to spend their lives together, courageously stood up and took a blow at systemic racism and discrimination in our country.
To me, Loving Day is more important than Valentine’s in celebrating modern love and commitment. Don’t get me wrong – I like chocolate and roses and a nice dinner out as much as the next person. But, the Christian and pagan origins of Valentines make its significance about as thick as a Hallmark card. Loving Day commemorates values that I find fundamental, and which form a basis of the household that David and I nurture together. I suspect many of you might feel the same way about your own homes.
The last few weeks have been a watershed of awareness about racial inequality in our country. Ordinary people have stood up to a blow at systemic racism that is centuries old. I think especially of Darnella Frazier, the 17-year-old who filmed George Floyd being murdered under Police officer Derek Chauvin’s knee. Think of the courage that young woman possessed to take out her phone and film. Darnella Frazier, Richard Loving, Mildred Loving – they are not extraordinary, rather regular citizens like you and me. Except they said, “enough, treat us as humans.” While Mildred and Richard Loving were just one step in the right direction, they showed us that real change is possible.
In the last few months, we have all relied on our families more than ever. Whether cooped up in the same house for weeks on end or devising creative ways to connect when separated by the quarantine, our families, more than ever, have been our lifelines. The love that sustained us has not been made of chocolate, roses and certainly not dinners out. The love that sustained was the type of Mildred and Richard Loving.
So, this Loving Day, as we enter Shabbat, I encourage you to express your love to your family. And, together, follow the Lovings’ example – to be a household of dignity, respect and committed to bettering our world.