Loving Day is an annual celebration held on June 12, the anniversary of the 1967 United States Supreme Court decision Loving v. Virginia which struck down all anti-miscegenation laws remaining in sixteen U.S. states citing "There can be no doubt that restricting the freedom to marry solely because of racial classifications violates the central meaning of the equal protection clause." In the United States, anti-miscegenation laws were U.S. state laws banning interracial marriage, mainly forbidding marriage between non-whites and whites. Loving Day is not yet an official recognized holiday by the U.S. government, but there is a movement to persuade U.S. President Barack Obama to make it as such. According to Time, Loving Day is the biggest multiracial celebration in the U.S.
Origins of the holiday
The "Loving" side of the U.S. Supreme Court case consisted of Mildred and Richard Loving. They first met when she was 11 and he was 17. He was a family friend and over the years they started courting. After she became pregnant, they got married in Washington in 1958, when she was 18. Reportedly, Mildred didn't realize interracial marriage was illegal, and they were arrested a few weeks after they returned to their hometown north of Richmond. They pleaded guilty to charges of "cohabiting as man and wife, against the peace and dignity of the Commonwealth," and avoided jail time by agreeing to leave Virginia. They moved to Washington, D.C. and began legal action by writing to Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy. Kennedy referred the case to the American Civil Liberties Union. After the Warren Court unanimously ruled in favor of the young couple, they returned to Virginia, where they lived with their three children. Mildred Loving died May 5, 2008 at the age of 68. Richard Loving died about thirty-three years earlier in a car accident. Each June 12, the anniversary of the ruling, Loving Day events around the country mark the advances of mixed-race couples.
How the holiday is organized
Many organizations sponsor annual parties across the country, with Lovingday.org providing an online legal map, courtroom history of anti-miscegenation laws, as well as offering testimonials by and resources for interracial couples. Inspired by Juneteenth (which commemorates the end of slavery in the state of Texas), Loving Day seeks both to commemorate and celebrate the Supreme Court's 1967 ruling, keeping its importance fresh in the minds of a generation which has grown up with interracial relationships being legal, as well as explore issues facing couples currently in interracial relationships. The Loving Day website features information, including court transcripts of the Loving v. Virginia case and of other court cases in which the legality of anti-miscegenation laws was challenged. To celebrate the holiday, people are encouraged to hold parties in which the case and its modern-day legacy are discussed, in smaller settings such as living rooms, backyards, etc., as well as in larger gatherings. Ken Tanabe is credited with forming the idea for Loving Day. He created the idea for his senior thesis at Parsons the New School of Design
In popular culture
- A documentary, The Loving Story, which features rare contemporaneous photographs of the couple and details the history of the case and references Loving Day, premiered on HBO on Valentine's Day 2012.
- New York Times best-selling author Heidi W. Durrow co-organized the second-largest celebration of Loving Day in the country with Fanshen Cox DiGiovanni, during the annual Mixed Roots Film and Literary Festival.
- The flagship Loving Day Celebration in New York City was featured in the BBC documentary series Our World in 2007, on the 40th anniversary of the Loving decision. Coverage of the annual celebration has also been featured in Time Magazine, on the Voice of America, National Public Radio, the Washington Post, and on the PBS NewsHour.
Several cities and municipalities have issued proclamations officially recognizing Loving Day as a holiday, including Washington DC and Caroline County, Virginia, where the Lovings hailed from.
- Tucker, Neely (2006-06-13). "Loving Day Recalls a Time When the Union of a Man And a Woman Was Banned". The Washington Post.
- Bussel, Rachel Kramer (2006-06-06). "Love Actually: Talking with Ken Tanabe, founder of Loving Day". The Village Voice.
- Gandin Le, Jennifer (2007-06-08). "Loving Day: It's Not a Hallmark Holiday". The Huffington Post.
- LovingDay.org: "Make Loving Day Official"
- Walker, Dionne (June 11, 2007). "American Matriarch". Richmond Times-Dispatch. Archived from the original on July 6, 2008. Retrieved September 27, 2011.
- The Loving Story Official Website
- HBO Documentary Films: The Loving Story Trailer
- The New York Times Lens blog, "The Heart of the Matter: Love", Jan. 18, 2012
- HBO Documentary Films: The Loving Story
- VOA: "Documentary Examines US Struggle to End Bans on Interracial Marriage", May 3, 2011
- Fredericksburg (VA) Star: "Film retells Lovings' love story", Feb. 6, 2012
- The New York Times Sunday Book Review: "The Bluest Eye", Feb. 28, 2010
- New York Times "Best Sellers: Paperback Trade Fiction", Sunday, March 13th, 2011
- Mixed Roots Film and Literary Festival
- Psychology Today: "Interview with author Heidi Durrow, The Girl Who Fell From the Sky", March 2011 JH: I love the idea behind Loving Day, a nationwide celebration of the anniversary of the Supreme Court decision that affirmed the right of different races to marry. Tell me more about that. HD: Loving Day is the wonderful brainchild of Ken Tanabe, who wanted to bring awareness to the anniversary of the Supreme Court decision and to mixed families. We hold the Festival around that date and host the largest West Coast celebration of Loving Day with a reception and this year also a live show.
- BBC World 24: Our World: Loving vs Virginia, part 3
- Time.com: "Loving Day Honors Mixed-Marriage, Fights Prejudice", June 11, 2010
- VOA: "Loving Day Marks 1967 Victory for Legal Interracial Marriage", June 11, 2008
- NPR: "Celebrating 40 Years of Loving Day", June 11, 2008
- The Washington Post: "Mildred Loving Followed Her Heart and Made History", May 6, 2008
- PBS NewsHour: "Remembering Mr. & Mrs. Loving", May 6, 2008
- Caroline County Official Proclamation of June 12 as Loving Day
- ACLU of Virginia: "Emotional Gathering in Caroline County Celebrates ACLU Case Striking Down Virginia's Anti-Miscegenation Law", Feb. 5. 2012