A Challenge to Love

I first read about the Lovings in the 11th grade during my U.S. history class. The teacher was going over legal cases that changed our nation, and Loving vs. Virginia was included. I was amazed at the tenacity and bravery of the Lovings, and I vowed to never forget them. Additionally, their unfaltering love for each other was enough to make my teenage heart melt and secretly wish to marry a man who would love and fight for me the way Richard Loving did for his wife, Mildred Loving.

Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1 (1967),[1] is a landmark civil rights decision of the United States Supreme Court, which invalidated laws prohibiting interracial marriage.

The case was brought by Mildred Loving, a black woman, and Richard Loving, a white man, who had been sentenced to a year in prison in Virginia for marrying each other. Their marriage violated the state’s anti-miscegenation statute, the Racial Integrity Act of 1924, which prohibited marriage between people classified as “white” and people classified as “colored“. The Supreme Court’s unanimous decision determined that this prohibition was unconstitutional, reversing Pace v. Alabama (1883) and ending all race-based legal restrictions on marriage in the United States.

The decision was followed by an increase in interracial marriages in the U.S., and is remembered annually on Loving Day, June 12. -(source)

When my then fiancé and I were choosing a wedding date, Loving Day felt fitting for us since we’re an interracial couple (I’m African-American, and he is Italian-American). It also allowed us to pay our respects to the Lovings and remember them through our union.

Since the legal case of Loving vs. Virginia, many things have changed in our country when it comes to race relations, but we still have a long way to go. Unfortunately, racism is very alive, and I don’t see it going anywhere no time soon. Although this is the reality of our country, my husband and I are blessed to reside in a city where we’re not looked upon as abnormal. We don’t receive the negative stares, and we don’t have people harassing us, unlike some others. We also have the unrelenting support of friends and family who accept us for who we are and our marriage—all the things the Lovings didn’t have.

June 12th is Loving Day, and this year, it will also be my third wedding anniversary. Even though Loving Day is just for one day, I’d like to take the time to tell everyone to not recognize love on just one day…recognize love daily. Love truly does conquer all, and at the end of the day, that’s all anyone wants. We all want to be loved, comforted, and supported for who we are.

Being of a different ethnicity doesn’t change that.

I challenge everyone reading this to show more love towards one another. As you go throughout your days for the month of June, try to be cognizant of your actions. How can you be more loving towards someone? How can you brighten someone’s day? How can you make someone feel so important and radiant that they not only return the favor but also transmit that feeling to someone new?