Learn more about Loving Day

By Michael Miller
June 12, 2016 02:05 PM
Ben Rothstein /Focus Features

It’s hard to believe, but just 49 years ago it was illegal for interracial couples to marry in sixteen states.

That all changed thanks to one brave couple, who fought for and won the right to live together as husband and wife in the state of Virginia, where anti-miscegenation laws were still in place.

Now, the incredible true story of Richard and Mildred Loving’s historic victory with the Supreme Court in 1967 is the subject of a new film, Loving, which earned rave reviews and early Oscar buzz when it debuted at the Cannes Film Festival. Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga, seen together in an exclusive still from the film above, play Richard and Mildred respectively.

After the ruling, the Lovings returned to Virginia where they lived with their three children. Mildred died in 2008 at the age of 68, and Richard had died 33 years earlier in a car accident.

In commemoration of the ruling, a network of volunteers established Loving Day in 2004. Now in its 13th year, the holiday has a national and global reach that boasts the world’s largest network of multiethnic community celebrations. Couples often choose Loving Day as their wedding date or date to propose, and there is a movement to persuade President Obama to make it a nationally recognized holiday. The Loving Day Organization started a petition on May 31st and has 30 days to get 100,000 signatures.

The rise of multiethnic relationships and marriages in America was made possible by the Loving case. Today, 10% of all U.S. married couple households are interracial or interethnic according to the U.S. Census (2010), which is an increase of 28% since 2000. 17 million adult Americans (6.9%) of Americans are actually multiracial according to Pew Research (2015).

The studio behind the film, Focus Features, is participating in Loving Day festivities across cities like New York City, Washington D.C. and Los Angeles, where thousands of participants celebrate every year. The studio is also encouraging couples and families to share their stories and photos on social media (Twitter: @LovingTheFilm; Facebook: LovingTheFilm; Instagram: @LovingTheFilm) and to tell how Richard and Mildred s love story inspires them.

Loving hits theaters in November.