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Two Years After Their Break Up, This Couple Said 'I Do'

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We were introduced to Samuel Blot and Thaina Madere two years ago when their proposal story struck a chord with us.


After meeting time and time again, Sam pursued Thaina, and although it wasn't love at first sight for Thaina, she eventually fell for him. Over time, the love they felt grew, but would eventually prove to not be enough and the couple broke up.

It wouldn't take Sam long to realize Thaina was his one though. For nine months, he prayed, he bided his time, he fasted, and most of all, he worked to become the man that Thaina needed him to be and the man that she deserved. He courted her thoroughly for a second time and nine months later, he proposed. "I knew that forever was what I wanted to be for her, and I knew I couldn't settle for anything less. It wasn't instant, but I won her back – and I've felt like I won the lottery every day since," he said.

When the time came to propose to her in that beautiful garden setting, he had no doubts the love of his life would say "yes."

A little over a year later, they made their commitment official under the eyes of God and surrounded by family and friends on November 5, 2017. From "She Said Yes" to "I Do," we're happy to join the Blots as they tie the knot and embark on their journey to forever. Read on as the bride and groom share some of the key elements that made their big day truly special.

Here & Now

Jonathan Adjahoe and Ned Magdaleno

"We had gone through so much up to that point, saying 'I do' wasn't really a leap, it was a confirmation of what we already knew. When you go through the moments in our relationship, when it is time to say 'I do,' we knew that it was a promise already paid for in hugs, sweat, and tears," she said.

The Sweetest Thing

Jonathan Adjahoe and Ned Magdaleno

"It's hard to pick [a favorite memory] but the morning of the wedding I woke up feeling so much peace and so sure that I was exactly where I needed to be," Thaina said. "I thought I would be stressed because it was the day of and I still hadn't written my vows, but all of the anxiousness of wedding prep ceased to exist because at that point, nothing else mattered but that I was hours away from becoming one with my man."

From This Moment On

Jonathan Adjahoe and Ned Magdaleno

"The most memorable moment [for me that day] was when I first saw her turn the corner to walk down the aisle," Sam recalled. "I knew she would be beautiful, but I could never imagine how beautiful. When I saw her, though I knew before, I was reminded that this is my wife; my forever. As she walked down the aisle, I knew there would be tears, but as a man who rarely cries I was surprised to find I had more than enough for the both of us."

Always & Forever

Jonathan Adjahoe and Ned Magdaleno

"We feel that even though we've been in love for years, marriage is the beginning of our great journey," Thaina shared. "So far, we have already had moments where we can't believe the blessings we have received, and we're only in the first few months! Living with your best friend has been as amazing as it sounds. We banter back and forth, get on each other's nerves, squabble over leaving the seat up, and learn about all kinds of strange habits; but as Sam always says, 'That day marked the first day in a long line of the best days of my life.'"

Click through the gallery below for behind-the-scene photos and intimate details that made their wedding amazing.

Jonathan Adjahoe and Ned Magdaleno

"We got married at Scripps Seaside Forum in La Jolla, San Diego. We wanted a beach wedding but didn't like the idea of toes in the sand so the cliffside lawn wedding was our happy medium. We also loved that the glass doors behind the lawn area of our ceremony slid open for an indoor/outdoor reception. I just knew that dancing the night away accompanied by views and sounds of the waves would be magical."

Congrats Mr. & Mrs. Blot!

To keep up with the couple and their newlywed bliss, follow them on Instagram @thainamadere and @blottedinq.

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
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Featured image by Shutterstock

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