Celebrate your loved one on National Loving Day! Every June 12, we honor the United States Supreme Court’s 1967 decision to strike down laws in several states that banned interracial marriage. The decision was sparked by Loving v. Virginia, a court case involving Richard and Mildred Loving, an interracial couple from Virginia who married in 1958. Upon returning home after their wedding, they were arrested. The couple fought back against the laws that forbid their partnership, and ultimately won the right to marry. Richard and Mildred’s determination changed the lives of millions of Americans and shaped the future of relationships in the country. From June 12, 1967 onward, Americans were no longer prohibited from marrying someone they loved solely because they were of different races. At the time of the Supreme Court’s decision, sixteen U.S. states still forbid interracial marriage, so the ruling was a necessary game-changer.The holiday was not created until decades after the decision, in 2004. It was launched by Ken Tanabe, who grew up in an interracial family with a Japanese father and a Belgian mother. He launched the holiday in hopes that the day of celebration would bring together multiethnic families from around the world.
- Host a barbecue
National Loving Day is often celebrated with backyard barbecues. Invite your family and friends over for great food and a celebration of love. Early June is the perfect time for a summer gathering, and what better reason than to honor a holiday that’s all about love?
- Attend a festival
Many communities mark National Loving Day with joyful festivals and city-wide celebrations. New York City hosts the holiday’s flagship celebration each year, and other communities also host parties and gatherings. Find one near you at LovingDay.org, or consider hosting your own!
- Watch a film inspired by the holiday
National Loving Day inspired the film Loving, a cinematic tribute to the couple that started it all. The movie, which was released in 2016, follows the story of Richard and Mildred Loving’s arrest, legal battle, and ultimate Supreme Court victory nine years later. The film was nominated for an Oscar and received widespread critical praise. If documentaries are more your style, press play on The Loving Story, a 2012 HBO film that shares little-known details of the couple’s journey. Kicking back on the couch with one of these films is a great way to reflect on the struggles that went into securing rights for couples of all races.
- It celebrates love in all forms
National Loving Day is a great opportunity to acknowledge the fact that love does not discriminate, and that millions of families throughout the U.S. and around the world consist of multiple races and ethnicities. Love is love — and what’s more beautiful than that?
- It honors the Loving couple’s bravery
Richard and Mildred Loving’s bold choice to fight for their rights created a better future for so many of their fellow Americans. Had the Supreme Court not ruled in their favor, millions of happy families that consist of more than one race may not exist today. The freedom to marry whomever we love was granted far more recently than most of us realize, and it’s important to protect that right in any way we can. National Loving Day is a great reminder to appreciate our current liberties and to ensure our rights are always recognized.
- It spreads awareness
National Loving Day is a great cue to ditch discrimination and treat all families and couples with the respect they deserve. It’s also a reminder that race is not what matters in a happy relationship — what’s important is that a couple is happy and compatible.