My little bubble has been popping a whole lot lately.

Did you know June 12th was Loving Day? When I saw that, I assumed it was like a bonus Valentine’s Day for the summer, but it’s actually the anniversary of the Supreme Court decision in 1967 that banned states from disallowing interracial marriage.

It’s not called “Loving Day” because permission was granted to love anyone, regardless of race. Actually, the case against the state of Virginia that changed the law was brought forward by a couple, Richard and Mildred Loving.

In 1958, the Lovings got married in Washington, DC and returned to Virginia. One night, they were woken up by police and told their marriage was breaking the law. They could serve jail time or leave the state for 25 years.

They chose door #2, but they took their case to the American Civil Liberties Union.

Mildred was instrumental in the law being overturned, but later told the Associated Press “it wasn’t my doing, it was God’s work.”

A friend of mine shared about Loving Day and mused that, not too long ago, his marriage would have been deemed illegal.

Talking about racial issues isn’t easy, but for a community like Forest Lake, we must address it. How many of our freedoms do we take for granted?

During our Wednesday night worship on June 17th, we took a 9-second moment of silence to remember that the Emanuel Nine were massacred in their South Carolina church 5 years ago by a white supremacist, Dylann Roof, who was a member of an ELCA church.

As an ELCA pastor, am I directly associated with Dylann Roof? Of course not. However, as a white moderate clergy, am I guilty of being silent on issues of racial inequality and not speaking up when hearing racially charged statements in my community?

Yes. And I will do better.

It’s been humbling for me to learn how ignorant I am. I don’t like to admit that.

I’m listening… and getting an education.

I’ve talked with students of color in the Forest Lake area school district that shared they were called racial slurs. Kids have been told to go back to their home. I talked to a black colleague who told me about a white member refusing to take communion from him because he’s black.

I’ve never had someone refuse to take communion from me because of the color of my skin.

A friend vividly remembered Juneteenth as a prominent day that was studied in his history classes. He went to a predominantly Black and Latinx school. June 19th is the day that Texas finally liberated ALL slaves—two and a half years after Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.

Why didn’t I learn about this historic day in my predominantly white school? I am learning that many of our brothers and sisters in this country consider Juneteenth as the true Independence Day.

What dates will future generations look back and remember? Will May 25, 2020 stand out?

I know that the history books will have a few different ways to tell the story.

I have nothing but admiration and appreciation for the FLPD that serves our community with care and support. They are invested in the relationships with our community—and we stood up for them as a community when they were almost eliminated. I know that they watched the actions of the Minneapolis police officers with the same horror as the rest of us. If you haven’t heard this yet, please know that it’s possible to support community police while also believing that black lives matter.

In the tragedy of George Floyd’s death, I hope we are learning why black lives matter and that we can’t dismiss the cry for justice if inside our comfortable bubble, we’re convinced that all lives matter

John Klawiter is the senior pastor of Faith Lutheran Church, an ELCA congregation in Forest Lake.

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