Voting early at Empire State College and celebrating Loving Day at Brighton Town Park

Voting early at Empire State College and celebrating Loving Day at Brighton Town Park

[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.

6/8/21 Brighton Town Councilmember Christine Corrado with David Kramer (en route to umpiring at Cobb’s Hill, see The umpires are back in business at Cobb’s Hill) [Photo: Monroe County Judge Doug Randall ] SEE ALL CANVAS ARTICLES AT END

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.

6/12/21 Robin Wilt speaking at Brighton Town Park, behind is Nicole Kessler, translator for the deaf. See Spring cleaning and kite flying at Brighton Town Park

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.

6/12/21 (left) Rajesh Barnabas speaking at Brighton Town Park; Sarah Brewer, translator for the deaf; (right) Rajesh’s remarks in his campaign diary

(l-r) Rachel Rosner, Dorothy Flaherty, Robin Wilt and Rajesh and Seneca Barnabas

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.

(left) Rachel Coleman, Asimi Coleman, Dennis Coleman, Eleanor Coleman outside the Carmen Clark Lodge at Brighton Town Park. (right) Robin, Nicholas and Pepa Wilt. See Spring cleaning and kite flying at Brighton Town Park

DJ Will Powers of Willpower Media Company (with Aila Li) provided the music. Will chooses songs by closely observing the crowd and guessing what people will like.

After the presentations, the group took the short walk to Empire State College.

(bottom right) About to cast his ballot, Rajesh voted for Rajesh; (bottom left) To beat the crowds, Aliya Guzman, current Nazareth College student, and Benjamin Wilt, West Point ’21, voted early early at 11:30am.

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.

(l-r) John Robins, Seneca Barnabas with bubble rope loop and Noah Barnabas juggling.

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.

The Bubble Guy’s formula

[Please leave comments below at end]

On the 2021 elections

On the electoral road with Van White

On the electoral road with Robin Wilt

On the electoral road with Albert Blankley

On the electoral road with Rajesh Barnabas

City Council candidate Alex White (D) on the primary process and gathering petition signatures


At Empire State College, I voted for “?”

About The Author

Welcome to Talker of the Town! My name is David Kramer. I have a Ph.D in English and teach at Keuka College. I am a former and still active Fellow at the Nazareth College Center for Public History and a Storyteller in Residence at the SmallMatters Institute. Over the years, I have taught at Monroe Community College, the Rochester Institute of Technology and St. John Fisher College. I have published numerous Guest Essays, Letters, Book Reviews and Opinion pieces in The New York Times, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, the Buffalo News, the Rochester Patriot, the Providence Journal, the Providence Business News, the Brown Alumni Magazine, the New London Day, the Boston Herald, the Messenger Post Newspapers, the Wedge, the Empty Closet, the CITY, Lake Affect Magazine and Brighton Connections. My poetry appears in The Criterion: An International Journal in English and Rundenalia and my academic writing in War, Literature and the Arts and Twentieth Century Literary Criticism. Starting in February 2013, I wrote for three Democratic and Chronicle  blogs, "Make City Schools Better," "Unite Rochester," and the "Editorial Board." When my tenure at the D & C  ended, I wanted to continue conversations first begun there. And start new ones.  So we created this new space, Talker of the Town, where all are invited to join. I don’t like to say these posts are “mine.” Very few of them are the sole product of my sometimes overheated imagination. Instead, I call them partnerships and collaborations. Or as they say in education, “peer group work.” Talker of the Town might better be Talkers of the Town. The blog won’t thrive without your leads, text, pictures, ideas, facebook shares, tweets, comments and criticisms.


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