12 June is #LovingDay, a date that marks the landmark 1967 civil rights decision in Loving v. Virginia when mixed race marriage became legalized across all states in the United States. Mixed race marriage is legal in the US because of Mildred and Richard Loving, arrested by police officers who broke into their home for – I quote – disturbing the dignity and peace of the Commonwealth by living together as a wedded couple. Yes. In court, the Lovings were told that in exchange for pleading guilty and avoiding imprisonment, they would be expelled from their hometown of Richmond Virginia for 25 years. They complied and moved to Washington, DC.
Mixed race marriage could still be illegal if it weren’t for Mildred Loving, who then wrote to US Attorney General Robert Kennedy to contest the US Constitution and their ruling on interracial marriage. It took 7 years to overturn the criminalization of their marriage, however, on June 12th 1967, the Court unanimously overturned the Loving’s convictions, and legalized mixed race marriage in all states in the United States.
Thanks to Mildred and Richard and all interracial couples who inadvertently fought on our behalf, my husband and I were able to marry outside our races – this, even though the French Marist priest we approached in San Francisco in the 90s said he could marry my husband because he was French but not me – I should go get married in Japantown. We were dismissed after explaining to him that this would be difficult since we were trying to marry each other but no matter – we eventually managed to con another priest into marrying us and we were able to go on to have mixed race children who were not born a crime.
Thanks also to Ken Tanabe, a child to mixed race parents himself and a former student at Parson’s School of Design who wrote a senior thesis on the little-known class action suit, we’re able to have a day to celebrate interracial families. Since 2004, June 12th is commemorated as #LovingDay. I hope it becomes recognized world over. Love does rule in the end and above all –
Change is possible.