Loving Day June 12th

From Time U.S. article posted June 11th, 2012 titled Loving Day

In 2007, Mildred Loving released this statement:

Loving for All By Mildred Loving

Prepared for Delivery on June 12, 2007,The 40th Anniversary of the Loving vs. Virginia Supreme Court Ruling Interracial Marriage Announcement

“When my late husband, Richard, and I got married in Washington, DC in 1958, it wasn’t to make a political statement or start a fight. We were in love, and we wanted to be married.  We didn’t get married in Washington because we wanted to marry there. We did it there because the government wouldn’t allow us to marry back home in Virginia where we grew up, where we met, where we fell in love, and where we wanted to be together and build our family. You see, I am a woman of color and Richard was white, and at that time people believed it was okay to keep us from marrying because of their ideas of who should marry whom.

When Richard and I came back to our home in Virginia, happily married, we had no intention of battling over the law. We made a commitment to each other in our love and lives, and now had the legal commitment, called marriage, to match. Isn’t that what marriage is?

Arrested in the Middle of the Night

Not long after our wedding, we were awakened in the middle of the night in our own bedroom by deputy sheriffs and actually arrested for the “crime” of marrying the wrong kind of person. Our marriage certificate was hanging on the wall above the bed.  The state prosecuted Richard and me, and after we were found guilty, the judge declared:””Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.” He sentenced us to a year in prison, but offered to suspend the sentence if we left our home in Virginia for 25 years exile.  We left, and got a lawyer. Richard and I had to fight, but still were not fighting for a cause. We were fighting for our love.

Though it turned out we had to fight, happily Richard and I didn’t have to fight alone.Thanks to groups like the ACLU and the NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund, and so many good people around the country willing to speak up, we took our case for the freedom to marry all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. And on June 12, 1967, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that, “The freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by freemen,” a “basic civil right.”

My generation was bitterly divided over something that should have been so clear and right. The majority believed that what the judge said, that it was God’s plan to keep people apart, and that government should discriminate against people in love. But I have lived long enough now to see big changes. The older generation’s fears and prejudice shave given way, and today’s young people realize that if someone loves someone they have a right to marry.

Surrounded as I am now by wonderful children and grandchildren, not a day goes by that I don’t think of Richard and our love, our right to marry, and how much it meant to me to have that freedom to marry the person precious to me, even if others thought he was the “wrong kind of person” for me to marry. I believe all Americans, no matter their race, no matter their sex, no matter their sexual orientation, should have that same freedom to marry. Government has no business imposing some people’s religious beliefs over others. Especially if it denies people civil rights.

Freedom to Marry for All

I am still not a political person, but I am proud that Richard’s and my name is on a court case that can help reinforce the love, the commitment, the fairness, and the family that so many people, black or white, young or old, gay or straight seek in life. I support the freedom to marry for all. That’s what Loving, and loving, are all about.

For more info go to www.LovingDay.org

Love and Culture

Intercultural Couple Central Park“Modern love can be summed up in one quick status update: It’s complicated.  There are boundless romantic possibilities, unfettered by skin color, religion, ethnicity, class, or orientation.” begins an article titled “Love and Race” in this month’s Marie Claire.  The magazine kicks-off a three-part series on how people are meeting, dating and mating today.  It was one of those articles that at first glance, I need not delay, the issue was mine and I was going to pour over it.

Marie Claire highlights five women of culture and their stories.

Anna Holmes, a half-black, half-white women discovers her own racial blind spots, especially when it came to love.  She avoided dating darker-skinned men, assuming they were only interested in her “trophy” light skin.  She didn’t trust Caucasian men either, assuming they saw her as a novelty, as a way to sample another culture, or as a stand in for all black women.  Soon she realized that her racialization of romance was keeping her at arm’s length from deeper intimacy.

Michele Serros a Mexican-American recall’s her parent’s advice to never marry a Mexican.  Her childhood through young adult view that a Mexican husband could not provide a prosperous life for her was instilled by both of her Mexican parents.   Soon Michele had achieved, on her own, the kind of life her father said only white men could give her.  A revelation that freed her to be with the man she loved.  She eventually met a Mexican-American man and fell in love.  Antonio was a successful chef-owner of a vegan restaurant in Berkeley, California.  When she brought Antonio home to meet her dad, it was not without anticipation.  Michele’s last hurdle was overcome when it became clear to her father that Antonio broke the stereotype he and Michele’s mother perpetuated.  Michele touches upon the influence of movies such as Maid in Manhattan, Monster-in-Law and The Wedding Planner where the young Latina marries a wealthy white man on her cousins.

Ji Hyun Lee writes about battling the “docile, hardworking lotus flower by day and sexual tiger by night” stereotype of Asian women.  Those myths might feel antiquated but from her experience, are alive and well today in some form or another in the minds of many non-Asian men.  Her experience dating outside her race has made her become more open-minded about dating Asian men.  She writes, “I’m noticing that the Korean boys who were invisible to me in high school had grown up into a handsome lot.”

Helena Andrews a young black woman investigates the statistic she finds not only offending but not entirely true that 70% of black women are single.  A hot topic in the media, this fact has been the highlight of several news stories including an entire show on Oprah.  Helen’s curiosity is peaked when she notices that she, a single black woman, was in the minority of her mostly married social network.  Many of her friends had observed the same thing.  So where was this disparaging statistic coming from she wondered?  She decided to go straight to the mother lode of demographics, the U.S. Census.  She found that while it was true that 70.5 percent of black women were never married compared with 45 percent of white women, the statistic is based on women ages 25 to 29.  A statistic she found not surprising.  She found another statistic that only 30 percent of black women were married but the data included every female from 15 years old up to 90-something.  Something else she found revealing.  Upon getting in touch with a psychology professor who analyzed census data between 2000 and 2009, she learned that his research showed that most black women eventually do marry.  Helena continues about how her own black American culture buys in to the hype and how it’s perpetuated.

Lastly, Azita Ghanizada an Afghan-American woman learns about love and tradition through both her own experience and her parent’s.  After her family flees Russian invaded Afghanistan to Vienna, Virginia she finds she isn’t the only one in her family rebelling against strict Afghan conformity.  She witnesses her parent’s loveless marriage prolonged an additional six years because of great social pressure from their Afghani community.  A divorce would “bring shame” to their family.  When she finds attention diverted to her mother’s unheard-of divorce from her father followed by her parents new found romantic lives, she finds a new kind of freedom.  “The lesson they are learning is clear: Loving someone from the same race or religion doesn’t guarantee happiness… Marriage will come when it is right.”

To read the article in full, go to the April Issue of Marie Claire