[6/12/21 Brighton Town Park. John Robins, a.k.a The Bubble Guy, provided effervescent entertainment as displayed by Yusuf Hussain. Except where indicated, photos by David Kramer]
During this election season, I’ve walked with five candidates canvassing in my Meadowbrook neighborhood in Brighton: Rajesh Barnabas (D, WP, Monroe County Legislature 24th LD), Albert Blankley (D, Monroe County Legislature 24th LD), Robin Wilt (D, WP, Brighton Town Council), Van White (D, Monroe County Judge) and Christine Corrado (D, Brighton Town Council).
I will be joining Patrick Reilly (R, Brighton Town Council) after the primaries. Today, the voting has begun.In an event organized by the Justice in Action Coalition of Monroe County, about 35 people gathered at BrightonTown Park to celebrate Loving Day and then marched to Empire State College for the first day of early voting. On June 12th, 1967, the United States Supreme Court (Loving v. Virginia) struck down all state laws against interracial marriage.
Robin Wilt and Rajesh Barnabas were two of the speakers. Robin’s marriage to Nicholas Wilt is interracial. In her remarks, Robin placed Loving v. Virginia (1967) within the historical trajectory of the civil rights movement: abolitionism, Reconstruction, MLK and the Civil Rights Acts of the 1960s and the Black Lives Matter movement. Robin said that Loving Day reminds us that what is legal is not always what is just and morally right.
Rajesh’s mother, Carole, is Irish-American and his father, Sampat, is from India. Rajesh’s parents were bold enough to date and marry in the 1960s when interracial marriage was still outlawed in 31 states.
In his talk, Rajesh discussed how children from interracial marriages, like himself, often see themselves as hybrids — in a positive way. Rajesh expanded on the metaphor of duality to present his hybrid vision of the world where socialism sits on equal footing with capitalism.
By coincidence, at the park the Coleman family was celebrating Dennis Coleman’s retirement as the Wayne County Coordinator of Drug Courts. As the Coleman marriage is interracial, Loving Day was chosen for the celebration. Daughter Asimi — a SUNY New Paultz graduate who participated in Loving Day parades in NYC during college — likes to say that without Loving v. Virginia, she would not exist.
After the presentations, the group took the short walk to Empire State College.
The speakers and the march to the polling booths were democracy in action, but for me, John Robins and the budding voters stole the show. To delight the crowd, John was asked to produce giant bubbles.
Being modest, John said anyone can make bubbles. But creating the floating soapy spheres from scratch didn’t look so easy. John studied the procedure on youtube and bought supplies at Home Depot (although John realized too late that Home Depot is considered too Republican and he should have shopped at the Democratic leaning Best Buy). John shared his secrets.
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On the 2021 elections