The Power of Interracial Couples, Loving Day, and Pride Month
Fifty-six years ago, the Supreme Court struck down laws in 16 states that made mixed-race marriages illegal. The June 12, 1967 decision in Loving v. Virginia overturned the legal case previously handed down against Richard and Mildred Loving, an interracial couple from Virginia.
For the simple acts of love and marriage, they had been jailed and banned from Virginia for violating what was then called the Racial Integrity Act. Put more simply, Virginia — and many more states — had codified racism into marriage law. The Loving case made all of them obsolete.
Times Have Changed
Today, according to the Pew Research Center, there are more than 22 million multiracial Americans. That accounts for more than 7% of the American population. According to the U.S. census, around 10% of households are made up of married couples who are interracial.
June 12 Is Now Known as Loving Day
There’s even an unofficial holiday celebrated across the country to honor the power of love across racial boundaries. Every June 12, millions of Americans observe what’s come to be known as Loving Day. The holiday occurs a week before another major commemoration: Juneteeth, which celebrates when news of the abolition of slavery made it to Texas on June 19, 1865.
In the Twin Cities of Minnesota — Minneapolis and St. Paul — Loving Day as well as Juneteenth have taken on an especially important meaning after the death of George Floyd. His death set off a national movement over racial justice that continues more than two years later.
Loving Day Is About Taking a Stand
Today, interracial couples in the city — and many others in the U.S. — will gather for Loving Day celebrations in parks, at picnics, and in their homes to take a stand for love beyond boundaries. During Pride Month, there are also LGBTQ-related Loving Day celebrations happening across the country.
“That feeling of finding your soul mate, it’s pretty universal, regardless of race or ethnicity or where you live in the world,” says Emiene Jacobson, a Black resident of the Twin Cities area whose wife, Jessica, is white. For Loving Day, the couple plans to host a backyard picnic at their home with friends and family to celebrate their 10-year anniversary.
“I was never rejected for who I chose to love,” Jacobson says. “But among my Black friends, I was one of the few who married outside my race. So while nobody objected to me doing it outright, it was a little unusual for everyone I know. Today, though, I feel nothing but love from my friends. My family has also always been supportive.”
Loving Day Is Also About Knowing ‘Love Is Love’
To Jacobson, “the thought that not so long ago that my marriage — because of my wife’s race and more recently her gender — would be illegal just astonishes me. I am thankful that things are different now because love is love. It’s as simple as that.”
Jacobson, who identifies as queer, will also be celebrating Pride Month. The series of festivities, which traces its origins to pro-LGBTQ rights riots at the Stonewall Bar in New York City in June 1969, is today an internationally celebrated holiday month.
Loving Day Has Evolved Into a Global Movement
From Los Angeles to London, parades, teach-ins, and community events take place in June to celebrate the power of love of all kinds. Once a quiet event observed on the margins, it today has corporate sponsors and a global equal rights movement behind it. In many major cities, including New York and San Francisco, separate days are each set aside for lesbian Pride, transgender Pride, and overall LGBTQ Pride events.
The Bottom Line
“Pride is about being yourself, being in your own skin. That can be your race. That can be your gender identity. And it most certainly can be your sexuality,” Jacobson says. “There are so many people in this world who have throughout history been made to feel less than and treated unequally because of who they are and who they love, how they are born as they are into this world. That just cannot be anymore. That’s not what pride or love is about. That’s not what loving is about. It’s not what Loving Day is about.”