June 12, 2019
June 12 marks Loving Day, the anniversary of the historic Supreme Court case Loving v. Virginia that banned unconstitutional state laws prohibiting interracial marriage. Without the fire in the hearts of Mildred and Richard Loving who fought their case for years until they came out victorious in 1967, many of the interracial couples and mixed race children who exist today might not have had a chance at love and life. The Loving’s were trailblazers who are too often overlooked in civil rights history.
But, no longer!
Thanks to Loving Day, founded in 2004 by Ken Tanabe as a way for the world to celebrate the Loving’s and interracial love, as well as the 2016 film Loving chronicling their story, Richard and Mildred are on their way to becoming household names.
My own parents were married in 1974, only seven years after the Loving v. Virginia case. It is hard to believe that our nation has come so far in one generation; today, one in seven children born in the US are born to interracial parents.
By chance or fate, the anniversary of Loving v. Virginia occurs during Pride Month, the month internationally dedicated to the celebration of LGBTQ pride. Pride Month commemorates the Stonewall riots of June 28, 1969, that prompted the first Pride march in New York City — just two years after the Loving v. Virginia case was won.
Loving Day and Pride Month are both about the freedom to love — to love passionately, to love freely, to love openly.
As a self-identified queer, mixed race woman who has loved across gender and race, I owe so much to the people who came before me and fought for their rights to love. To those who risked their lives to love openly and truly.
Thank you, Mildred and Richard Loving and the couples who came before you.
Thank you, Marsha P., Sylvia Rivera and all of the others at Stonewall, and those who came before you.
Thank you for refusing to let social mores, the law, or the state dictate your love. Thank you for believing in your love, and in fighting for your right to love.
Love is the most powerful force I have personally experienced. Healthy, true, and honest love can spur us to action; it can inspire us to become better people; it can help us weather the most difficult situations; it can push us to quite literally change the world.
Despite ardent strides in the direction of equality and freedom, the fight is not over. Interracial couples, people of color, and LGBTQ couples and individuals continue to face discrimination and violence in the US and around the world. As part of a generation who has benefited so enormously from the movements and fights that came before us, it is our duty to continue to fight for and protect the rights of those who are violated, to demand equal dignity, the right to love, and the freedom to be ourselves openly and authentically.
In today’s world, love is an act of resistance, and we must resist.
Take action by visiting some of my favorite organizations working on the issues:
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