Celebrate Loving Day Every Day

by Christopher J.

June 11, 2023

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Every June 12, thanks to the courage and pure, unadulterated love of two people, Mildred and Richard Loving, we now celebrate National Loving Day. The day pays tribute to their sacrifice and commitment to love and to the loving couples and people can share between them. In the 1960s, the couple gained fame and accolades for their fight against the laws then preventing them and anyone else from marrying interracially.

Richard Perry Loving was white and Mildred Delores Jeter was Black and Native American, and they both lived in rural Virginia. Despite knowing that their marriage would violate the 1924 “Racial Integrity Act,” the two loved each other so much that they chose to wed in 1958. But there were consequences. One night not long after, they were dragged out of their home, arrested, then convicted and banished from Virginia.

The best way to learn the full and highly compelling story of the Lovings is to watch the 2011 HBO documentary The Loving Story. The film chronicles the tale of an interracial couple whose legal battle culminated in the 1967 U.S. Supreme Court decision, Loving v. Virginia. That ruling declared all state bans on interracial marriage unconstitutional.

After being banished, they remained near their home, settling in Washington, D.C., but still felt torn from their family and friends in Virginia. In 1963, they wrote to then U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, a powerful Civil Rights advocate, and he referred them to the American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU then took their case to the Supreme Court, which rejected the Virginia court’s argument. The ruling they issued overturned statues in all states prohibiting interracial marriage.

Photo courtesy of Encyclopedia Virginia

In an article about marriage equality in February of 2014, shortly after a federal judge in Texas struck down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage as unconstitutional reflecting the Supreme Court’s 1967 decision in the Loving vs. Virginia case, the author Dr. Charles Beem quoted Mildred Loving: “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’s civil rights.”

Somehow, the fact that their name was Loving just stands as a testament to how right this decision was, and that the two came to represent an unquestioned, unconditional, completely devotional love could not be extinguished. No one, no law, no court was going to keep them from being married so they could share and celebrate life together. Richard died in 1975, and Mildred in 2008, but the Loving couple remain as role models for all Lovers still today.

If you’re interested in learning more about this glorious National holiday, you’ll find abundant information at LovingDay.org. It makes a perfect day to get out and show off your love for your partner by finding meaningful, personal, intimate or public ways to express your love.

“While all are welcome, it can be especially significant for interracial couples, multiracial families, mixed race and transracially adopted people, and those with similar living experience,” the website points out.

They also cite examples of people sharing photos and stories on social media accompanied by #lovingday. Others, they suggest, bring family and friends together through community events. The creative and artistic types among you, they offer, could think about employing your skills or professional talents in a positive way.

Loving Day is certainly a perfect way to celebrate in a very “intentional way to stand in solidarity with communities that intersect with ours.” The proximity to Pride Month events and activities certainly are perfectly aligned for such activities and holiday observations.

Of course, if you really want to honor Richard and Mildred, you and your lover could find a copy of Loving, the 2016 romantic drama written and directed by Jeff Nichols, fire up some popcorn and snuggle in together on the sofa to watch it together. Starring Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga, the American movie was inspired by the 2011 film, The Loving Story, by Nancy Buirski; The documentary follows the Lovings through their landmark case that forever changed and opened up the landscape for love in the United States.

If you want to help ensure that the Loving Day tradition continues to be shared and celebrated, you can support the LovingDay.org’s efforts through donations, purchasing merchandise from their Loving Day stores or even lending a little loving time to the day.

“The best way to support Loving Day is to include it in your own traditions and to share it with others,” the website informs. “But if you’d like to support our work more directly, there are some options. We cover our expenses with kind donations of any size (mostly small), and with sales from our Loving Day stores. We also depend on volunteers, who contribute their time, knowledge, and skills in amounts ranging from a few hours to a year (or several).”

“I am still not a political person,” Mildred continued in her statement issued in 2007 on the fortieth anniversary of the Loving decision, one year before her death, “but I am proud that Richard’s and my name is on a court case that can help reinforce the love, the commitment, the fairness, and the family that so many people, black or white, young or old, gay or straight seek in life. I support the freedom to marry for all. That’s what Loving, and loving, are all about.”

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