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Thursday, June 12, 2008


Having been married to a black woman for 11 years, having a child with her, and even with a divorce, still raising a multiracial child with her, this holiday does strike a place with me.

I edited this three pieces down from the original to keep this post from getting too long. - OlderMusicGeek

Editorial: Loving Day
When race matters less

It's Loving Day today.

Loving Day is so called because on June 12, 1967, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Loving v. Virginia, struck down all state laws against interracial marriage.

In 1958, Mildred Jeter (black) and Richard Loving (white) got married in the District of Columbia, where interracial marriage was legal, then went to Virginia, where it wasn't. At 2 a.m., deputies arrested them.

It seems incredible now, but it's true: For more than 300 years, laws existed, first in the colonies, then throughout the States, that barred people from marrying if judged to be of different races. This horrible holdover from slavery days is, thank goodness, obsolete.

Interracial marriages continue to grow: According to U.S. Census figures, their number increased fivefold between 1970 and 2000.

More than three million children live in interracial households. The U.S. Census Population Estimate says that as of last July, nearly five million people in the United States were of two or more races, a 3 percent jump from 2006.

This country is changing faster, leaving old ideas behind and not asking permission. Loving Day is a day to celebrate any change in society that makes it easier for us to love one another.

A link to the original site of this piece

Loving Day: It's Not a Hallmark Holiday
Posted June 8, 2007 04:36 PM (EST)
Virginia, Washington, Brooklyn, United States, New York , Breaking Living News

Most people forget about their master's thesis as soon as they've got their degree. Not 29-year- old Brooklyn resident Ken Tanabe -- he used his thesis to create Loving Day, a national holiday that celebrates the right to marry interracially.

Named for the 1967 Supreme Court decision Loving vs. Virginia, which legalized interracial marriage in the United States, Loving Day is currently in its fourth year of fighting prejudice through education and community-building. Tanabe's father is Japanese and his mother is Belgian, so Tanabe takes the decision personally -- without it, he might not have been born.

This unifying stance on interracial marriage might seem like a given, but Tanabe points out the disturbing FBI hate crime statistic: in 2005, 54 percent of all hate crimes were motivated by racial bias.

Also this year, Loving Day, in partnership with the Association of MultiEthnic Americans (AMEA), has organized the Loving Decision Conference, which will be held in Chicago from June 21-24. The international academic conference will address everything from transracial adoption issues to classification, identity and racial/ethnic formation. Attendees will come from as close as Canada and as far as South Africa. "All the national Loving Day events lead up to the conference, which will be like a big hurrah."

"As a kid, I didn't have many coherent thoughts about being multiracial," he recalls. Though some kids teased him with mock-Asian accents and slanted eye comments: "Kids are mean. They'll make fun of you for whatever they can." It wasn't until college that he consciously considered his heritage. "I was sitting in seminars, surrounded by people who could be multiracial, and I was shocked, thinking, 'There's such a thing as multiracial identity? How did I miss this?'"

In 2001, Tanabe was doing an unrelated web search when he came across something that stunned him. It was a quote from Judge Leon Bazile's 1956 ruling that sentenced Richard Loving and Mildred Jeter Loving to one year in jail for breaking the ban on interracial marriages: "Almighty God created the races, white, black, yellow, Malay, and red and placed them on separate continents... The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend the races to mix."

Tanabe was speechless. "Racism was not a new idea, but to hear it from the mouth of an official, so recently... it blew me away," he recalls. He discovered another surprise: the Loving v. Virginia Supreme Court decision. In 1958, the Lovings traveled to Washington, D.C., to get married because interracial marriage was illegal in Virginia. When they returned home, police arrested them at night. Nine years passed before the Supreme Court overturned their convictions, declaring all anti-miscegenation laws unconstitutional.

When it came time to create his thesis, Tanabe remembered the case. Then he struck on the holiday Juneteenth, which commemorates the announcement of the abolition of slavery in Texas. "It's not a Hallmark holiday, it's not a federally endorsed celebration, but the spirit is so powerful. I thought, 'This is it.'"

It took a full year to create the website, which began as a solo project, but as soon as he submitted his thesis in May 2004, he threw together the first Loving Day party with one month's notice. One hundred and fifty people showed up and had a fantastic time. "Even if you have nothing else in common, there's a shared experience if you're married interracially. You're kindred spirits," he says.

Those kindred spirits continue to flock to the parties, from 300 people in the second year, to 500 people in 2006. Up to 1000 people are expected at this year's party in Manhattan. Tanabe's eyes widen when he says, "The biggest surprise is that it's working."

"It's scary to be at the helm of this organically growing entity and trying to manage it," Tanabe admits with a laugh. But, he also says, "It's rare to have an opportunity to identify something that society needs, that it doesn't have, and to fill that need."

For more information about Loving Day, visit http://www.lovingday.org. For more information about the Loving Decision Conference, visit http://www.lovingconference.com.

A link to the original site of this piece

LOVING DAY: How Will You Celebrate?

By Camille Jackson | Staff Writer, Tolerance.org

Ken Tanabe, the child of an interracial couple, was a good student, got all A's and even attended graduate school — all without learning anything about the 1967 Supreme Court decision that allowed his parents to legally marry and conceive him.

Tanabe, 27, accidentally stumbled upon information about Loving v. Virginia while doing a Google search.

He learned that, before the court decision, states were able to separate and punish interracial couples. Many of the so-called miscegenation laws included Asian people and Native Americans.

"I was shocked because I didn't know about it even though I am a product of an interracial couple," Tanabe said. "It dawned on me that there's a generation gap; younger people who didn't live with that law don't know anything about it."

With that in mind, and inspiration from his Belgian mother and Japanese father, Tanabe built a website dedicated to Loving v. Virginia. Lovingday.org encourages visitors to host Loving Day parties on June 12 to commemorate the groundbreaking decision.

Tanabe encourages visitors to celebrate the June 12 anniversary by having backyard gatherings, dinner parties or "spending time with someone you love." This year, he knows of parties planned in several states.

Tanabe compares the impact of Loving v. Virginia to Brown v. the Board of Education (1954). Learning about the Brown decision helps people understand civil rights, just as the Loving decision teaches about the unfairness of miscegenation laws.

"At the time [the miscegenation laws] were common knowledge, but once the laws were changed it stopped making headlines," Tanabe said.

Tanabe says he wants to create a day that "people feel is close to their heart" and can grow into a time when everyone knows the history of Loving.

A link to the original site of this piece

(There is ONE thing missing from all the pieces on Loving Day. There is no talk about people are fighting for their right to married and STILL are not allowed to married. Can none of these writers or Tanabe see the similiarities between the queer society and interracial couples of the past? - OlderMusicGeek)

A link to the main Loving Day website
A link to Wikipedia's entry on Loving Day
An NPR piece on Loving Day

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