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Monday, February 15, 2010

Help Loving Day earn $25,000 from Pepsi Refersh

All you have to do is click here and vote every day through February 28th by clicking a button to help Loving Day get a $25,000 grant from Pepsi Refresh.

Here are the goals of Loving Day:

* Educate the public about history in order to fight racial prejudice
* Establish a tradition of Loving Day celebrations
* Create a common connection between multicultural communities
* Build multicultural awareness, understanding, acceptance, and identity

Here's Loving Day founder Ken Tanabe talking about their mission:

From my 2006 Village Voice interview with Loving Day founder Ken Tanabe:

Loving Day falls just six days from Juneteenth. Any relationship? Juneteenth celebrates the liberation of slaves in the U.S. It's not officially recognized by the government or a Hallmark holiday, but it's huge. Churches, families, social groups, and organizations get together. I thought, "That's the way to do it." I wanted to take something historically negative and make it into a positive, to structure it around an event people can use every year to be reminded of this case and celebrate it.

Interracial couples have been legal for some time, but these are old wounds. People have a hard time talking about this subject because it seems so personal. They don't see it as part of the civil rights struggle.

Do you think it's about sex?
It is and it's not. The laws were about marriage, but often also about sex. The laws would talk about unlawful fornication, adultery, concubinage, and cohabitation. Sex is a part of the conversation.

Do you have to be part of an interracial couple to attend Loving Day parties? The way I like to think about that is: If you wanted to march with Martin Luther King Jr., did you have to black? No. The holiday or idea is open to anyone who's against discrimination on the basis of race. It focuses on the relationship side of it, but it's really about racism and being against it. Also, these laws prosecuted everybody—regardless of face. People who value freedom and equality are offended and outraged at the idea that the law could discriminate this way.

Is there a specific goal you're trying to achieve? The goal is for the
Loving decision to become a part of our civil rights history and be as well recognized as Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks. We need to make this part of our household language and everyday vocabulary. We know about Brown, Plessy, and lunch counter sit-ins, but relatively few know about Loving.

Do you get hate mail? Yes. Here's one of my favorites: "Pathetic site, what's next? Marrying your dog? You can't mix humans with black filth." One of my top five referrers was a white supremacist website advocating laws against interracial couples. It had burning crosses and Confederate flags. I was totally shocked.

Click here to vote for Loving Day to win a Pepsi Refresh grant.

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