Are you or someone you love married to, or in a relationship with someone of a different race? If so, there’s a special holiday celebrating interracial marriage that you MUST know about!
What holiday am I referring to?
Loving Day is a Special Holiday Celebrating Interracial Marriage.
This celebration takes place every year on June 12th.
In case you’re thinking “Loving Day sounds like a made-up holiday; I’ve never heard of this day before in my life!” don’t worry, you’re definitely not alone! I had never heard of Loving Day until just a few years ago. So don’t feel bad if this is your first time learning about it!
What is Loving Day and what does it have to do with interracial marriage?
Loving Day is an annual celebration, highlighting the anniversary of the 1967 U.S. Supreme Court decision Loving v. Virginia. It’s celebrated on June 12th of every year.
What is Loving v. Virginia?
Loving v. Virginia is the case that involved Mildred and Richard Loving, a black woman and white man, who were forced to leave their hometown in Virginia in 1958, because of the existing anti-miscegenation laws banning interracial marriage.
The couple avoided jail time by pleading guilty to the charges of “cohabiting as man and wife, against the peace and dignity of the Commonwealth”, and agreed not to return to Virginia for 25 years.
Mildred and Richard Loving were not allowed to return home for 25 years!
The couple moved to Washington, D.C., and began legal action by contacting then-U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy. Kennedy referred the case to the American Civil Liberties Union and from there, the case eventually ended in a unanimous decision in favor of Mildred and Richard.
Chief Justice Earl Warren wrote in the court majority opinion that “The freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual, and cannot be infringed by the State.”
After the ruling, the Lovings were able to return to Virginia, where they raised their three children. Sadly, Richard was killed in a car accident in 1975. Mildred passed away in 2008.
The Supreme Court decision struck down all anti-miscegenation laws that were up until then, still legal in 16 U.S. states.
Let’s reflect on that for a moment.
Just over 50 years ago, interracial marriage was still prohibited in 16 states!
I am a white woman married to an Asian man and we have two biracial children together. I am forever grateful and indebted to Mildred and Richard Loving for paving the way for interracial couples to not only marry but to build families and lives together.
How did Loving Day start?
In 2004, graduate student Ken Tanabe accidentally discovered the Loving case while working on his thesis project at the Parsons School of Design. As a man of interracial, intercultural, and international heritage, he couldn’t believe he’d never been taught about this landmark case!
Ken Tanabe then created The Loving Day website, and it has spread and grown into an entire global network of celebrations.
Isn’t that incredible!?
While Loving Day is not an officially recognized U.S. holiday, each June 12th, on the anniversary of the ruling, Loving Day events around the country celebrate the advances of mixed-race couples everywhere.
Lovingday.org offers an online legal map, the courtroom history of anti-miscegenation laws, testimonials by interracial couples, and lots of other resources.
Ways to celebrate Loving Day with your family:
- Explore the website!
- Listen to NPR All Things Considered (from 2007 but still so relevant!)
- Watch the documentary, The Loving Story
Resources for ongoing and essential Anti-Racism work:
- How to Teach Your Kids About Racism
- Empowering Antiracism Books for Young Readers
- 10 Powerful Antiracism Books for Middle Schoolers
- 10 Important Antiracism Books for Teens
- Brene Brown with Ibram X. Kendi on How to be an Anti-Racist
I hope these resources provide you and your children with the knowledge and enthusiasm to celebrate Loving Day together!
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