Celebrate Loving Day

Image from dallasvoice.com

On June 12, 1967, Mildred Jeter Loving, a black woman, and Richard Loving, her white husband, won their landmark case at the federal level against the state of Virginia. Loving v. Virginia made anti-miscegenation laws illegal in the state of Virginia, and ultimately across the nation.

Forty-five years later, nearly 3% of the United States’ population is made up of those who identify as two or more races, or biracial, and interracial marriage is on the rise. In order to commemorate the Lovings, interracial couples and biracial Americans come together every year on the anniversary of the ruling to celebrate Loving Day.
The Loving Day celebration, created by Ken Tanabe, began as a grad project for the graphic design major. As a multiethnic American, he was shocked that he was never taught about the case when he was in school, and created the website, and ultimately, the celebrations that followed, in order to raise awareness among Americans, especially mixed race Americans, of the landmark ruling. The website has links to how one can find a Loving Day celebration in their city, personal stories from interracial couples and biracial/multiracial Americans, and education resources to learn more about the case. (Their t-shirts are pretty nifty too!)

Image from vimeo.com

As a young biracial American, I am particularly invested in this court case. Not only because it made my parents’ marriage legal, but because of what this case could mean as far as same-sex marriage goes. Marriage being deemed a “vital personal right essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness” by the Supreme Court is something that has been brought up time and time again, most recently in the Prop 8 case. Section one of the Fourteenth Amendment states, “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” Many may argue that Loving v. Virginia is irrelevant when it comes to same-sex marriage, but in my opinion, it is simply food for thought.
Five years ago, before her passing, Mildred Loving released a statement to commemorate the ruling. Said Loving,

My generation was bitterly divided over something that should have been so clear and right. The majority believed that what the judge said, that it was God’s plan to keep people apart, and that government should discriminate against people in love. But I have lived long enough now to see big changes. The older generation’s fears and prejudices have given way, and today’s young people realize that if someone loves someone they have a right to marry. …I believe all Americans, no matter their race, no matter their sex, no matter their sexual orientation, should have that same freedom to marry. Government has no business imposing some people’s religious beliefs over others. Especially if it denies people civil rights.

To learn more about Mildred and Richard Loving, how to find a Loving Day celebration in your area, or to learn about how to host one of your own, visit lovingday.org.

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