Tribute to Loving

Mildred and Richard Loving (Photo:  Getty Images )

Mildred and Richard Loving (Photo: Getty Images)

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court Decision that banned laws restricting interracial marriage. I am ashamed to say that this day probably would have passed by me if not for social media reminding me in my newsfeed. It just goes to show how much we take for granted the freedoms we enjoy in this country, and what others have had to go through in order to enjoy those freedoms.

I found this article which shared some of the experiences of other interracial couples in light of the Loving decision. Then I thought, “Oh, yeah…I’m a black woman married to a white man, perhaps I ought to throw in my two cents!”

After all, it seems everyone has something to say about race these days, and I am more than qualified to speak to these issues. I was born in Virginia, raised in North Carolina, and live in East Tennessee. My husband was born and raised in the part of Tennessee where we live. I work in a field that is predominantly white, traveled around the world with an organization that is predominantly white, and live in an area that is not known for its racial diversity. (In contrast to the military town I grew up in which is the exact opposite!) I’m raising a biracial child...which is actually more challenging in some ways than being a black woman married to a white man. But that’s another post for another day. The bottom line is this: I can testify to the fact that racism is real, white privilege is a thing, and yes, our country needs to be reminded that Black Lives do indeed matter. It shouldn’t have to be said, but yet, it does.

What could I say that hasn’t already been said?

Not much.

And why should I have to? If you take one look at us and our family, it pretty much says all you need to know.

Richard and Mildred Loving were not the ones that made race an issue. It was the state of Virginia, and the sordid history of our country. They were just a couple who loved each other and wanted to live and raise their family in peace, and not as criminals. They were willing to do what they had to do in order to have that right, even if it meant taking on the law of the land.

For my family, the bigger issue is not only to live and love in peace, but also with soundness of mind, wholeness of spirit, and above all, dignity.  So God has led me to share our story of navigating serious mental health issues in a time when mental illness is still misunderstood, feared, and sometimes even criminalized. There are few voices crying out for more understanding of mental illness, and advocating for compassion towards those who struggle with these issues. I’m grateful for Richard and Mildred Loving, who paved the way for my husband I to be able to meet, fall in love, and marry in peace. Perhaps in loving each other, we can be a beacon of hope for those who are dealing with serious mental health issues, and point people to the ultimate source of Love, God Himself, along the way.

  1 John 4:7
 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.

Happy Loving Day!