Today is Loving Day. Here’s why it’s so important

Today is more than just your average Friday. It’s Loving Day. Besides having the best name, Loving Day is the when the nation celebrates the 1967 Supreme Court decision, Loving v. Virginia, that overturned all remaining laws banning interracial marriage. It’s named in honor of Mildred and Richard Loving, the interracial couple whose marriage sparked the historic court case.

Mildred and Richard were arrested in Richmond, Virginia for getting married, and only avoided jail time by agreeing to leave the state. They later wrote to then Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy about their experience. Kennedy referred them to the ACLU, and started building a case for them that ending up going to the Supreme Court. In a unanimous decision, the court justices overturned the racist law as unconstitutional. Subsequently, a rise in interracial marriages followed, though discrimination still remained, if not legal, than socially prevalent.

My parents were married in 1985, almost two decades after the court’s decision in favor of the Lovings. My mother is white—Irish and Scottish—and my father is Black (with some Creole and Sicilian in there). When I was young, I hadn’t considered that their different backgrounds would expose them to discrimination.

I was wrong. My parents experienced plenty of side-eye glances and straight up discrimination due to their choice to publicly express their love for one another. My father has told me stories detailing the discomfort they experienced in restaurants and other social venues, even to the point where he had to either leave or ask the other patrons to leave. Adding my brothers and myself to the mix just made things worse. If my family experienced such offensive opposition in the late ’80s, I can’t imagine what it was like for those who came before us. But their perseverance and love paved the way for incremental change—and I am grateful for that.

Though Loving Day is not (yet!) a nationally recognized holiday, it is widely known as the largest multiracial celebration in the country.

Many cities and states celebrate Loving Day by honoring history with parties, dancing, and lots of loving. If your community does not have a Loving Day celebration, check out to find one near you, or to learn how to throw your own party.

Through the years, many people have pushed to turn Loving Day into a national holiday because of its significance to so many families in our country and around the world. To celebrate Loving Day, today and every year, spend a minute to reflect on how far we have come—and how far we have to go—with the freedom to marry who we truly love.

Happy Loving Day, everyone!

 [Image via author]