Today’s post is courtesy of The Obama Foundation’s website …
JUSTICE LIKE A THUNDERBOLT
Five years ago marked an unforgettable day in the Obama Presidency. The Supreme Court ruled on marriage equality, President Obama paid tribute to Reverend Pinckney and his eight parishioners in Charleston, and the White House shone with pride for all to see.
To mark the anniversary of that fateful day, June 26, 2015, we created a retrospective video and collected reflections of many who experienced it firsthand.
June 26, 2015, also marked the end of a unique ten-day stretch in American history. After the murder of nine parishioners at Mother Emanuel AME Church by a white supremacist, organizers held protests in South Carolina that led to the removal of the Confederate flag from the State house grounds. The Supreme Court upheld a critical piece of the Affordable Care Act in King v. Burwell, guaranteeing that millions of Americans would not lose their health insurance. And on the morning of June 26, millions of Americans were waiting to hear how those same justices would rule on the question of whether same-sex couples had the right to marry, in Obergefell v. Hodges.
As so many who lived through that day will tell you, that morning’s decision was decades in the making. It was a moment made possible by the work of activists who demanded justice, government leaders who took action, and millions of ordinary Americans who dared to live openly and challenge their government to honor their commitment.
The path to progress rarely runs in a straight line. Broader cultural support for gay rights was routinely met with legal resistance. The path to racial progress has long been punctuated by horrific acts of white supremacist violence. And through the long arc of history, it can be difficult to see how an individual act—a cry of grief, a protest, a phone call to a representative, a ballot cast—can lead to justice.
But once in a while, that work adds up to days like June 26, 2015, where justice arrives, “like a thunderbolt.”