New petition asks President Obama to create national holiday for mixed-race families
Today in the U.S. there are at least 22 million multiracial families, a demographic that is growing 3 times faster than the U.S. as a whole. Despite there being more and more multiracial families and people in the United States, racial discrimination and underrepresentation are still problems in this community. A new petition seeks to change this by making "Loving Day" a federal holiday.
Loving Day was founded in 2004 by Ken Tanabe -- an interracial American who has a Japanese father and Belgian mother.
"The Loving case was never taught in school and not even in college," Tanabe said to AOL News. "I came across it when I was Googling something around the year 2000."
The Parsons School of Design graduate told AOL News he developed the annual event as part of his MFA thesis project.
"If Loving v. Virginia never happened, I wouldn't exist" - Tanabe
According to Tanabe, Loving Day's mission is to connect the "multiethnic community and couples and families all around the world."
The holiday, Loving Day, is named after the couple Richard and Mildred Loving, a white man and a black woman who won their right to marry in the case Loving v. Virginia (1967). The couple married in Washington, D.C. in 1958 and were arrested upon their return home to Caroline County, Virginia.
In 1958, the year Richard and Mildred got married, just 4% of Americans approved of interracial marriage, according to Gallup. By 2013, the approval number rose to 87%.
The couple's commitment to each other and will to fight for something they believed in has impacted millions of lives around the country.
See images of the Lovings below:
Since its founding in 2004, Loving Day is celebrated every year on or around June 12, the anniversary of the Loving decision. Although Loving Day isn't quite a federal holiday yet, thousands of people celebrate Loving Day at events all over the world -- ranging from small backyard barbecues to large city festivals.
Tanabe noted that "the timing of the petition is special, not just because loving day is coming up again, but also because there is a new film coming out -- Loving."
The film, written and directed by Jeff Nichols, is a biopic, focusing on the love between Richard (Joel Edgerton) and Mildred Loving (Ruth Negga) and their historic Supreme Court case. The film premiered at Cannes Film Festival in May and has already started generating Oscar buzz.
The White House petition started on May 31 and needs 100,000 signatures in 30 days in order for President Obama to respond to the request to make Loving Day a federal holiday.
"Obama is about to leave office, and we hope he will find this case of interest given he is interracial," Tanabe said, adding that when the president's parents married interracial marriage was still illegal in 22 states.
You can view and sign the petition here.