“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28
The year was 1958. Richard and Mildred Loving who were newlyweds at the time were arrested and threatened with jail time. Their only crime being they were an interracial couple – Richard was white, while Mildred was black and Native American. At that time Virginia belonged to one of the twenty two states in the nation that considered interracial marriages illegal. To avoid prison, the Lovings moved to Washington D.C., but after five years with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) they fought for their rights in Supreme Court. Virginia’s anti-miscegenation laws were in effect for 305 years and on June 12, 1967 the Supreme Court declared these laws to be unconstitutional.
Fast forward to the year 2004. Ken Tanabe a student then at Parsons the New School for Design, in New York created Loving Day as part of his graduate thesis project. Tanabe had never heard of the Lovings growing up, but as a person of multiethnic heritage (Japanese and Belgian) he wanted to educate people. He wanted to make people aware that the freedom interracial families enjoy today comes as a price paid by many before us. The Loving Day was thus born as an effort to fight racial prejudices by paying tribute to the Lovings.
June 12 is now celebrated as Loving Day. It is the largest multi-ethnic community celebration with supporters participating in Loving Day events, like film festivals, backyard barbecue, and picnic in the park, hosted in cities like New York, Los Angeles and Wichita, KS. Last year, the Loving Day Project started a new campaign called the ‘Loving Day on Campus’ to ‘address the growing number of multi-ethnic student organizations who wanted to be part of the celebrations.’ Brown University, Smith College and New York University were a few that took part in this new campaign.
Today many of us have the freedom to fall in love and live with whoever we want to, for this say we say thank you to the Lovings for their fight.
Live and love this Loving Day!