What could be more important than being free to love whom you choose?
Sunday, June 15 marked the first Loving Day event in Loring Park, hosted by MXDWELL, an online news source that explores positive cultural and multiracial intersections. Creator and editor Mackenzie Claire saw a natural connection between MXDWELL and celebrating the anniversary of Loving v. Virginia–a court case in 1967 in which the Supreme Court struck down laws banning interracial marriage.
“We cover various fusions within arts and culture–that’s kind of how we celebrate the mixed experience. Different fusions just bring diversity. It all kind of ties in with Loving Day. I thought it would be a great idea to have that here in the Twin Cities,” said Claire.
The night before the event, Claire was particularly looking forward to performances by Bomba Umoya and Tall Paul. “Bomba Umoya, they’re an Afro-Puerto Rican drum group, and they do some dancing too. We’ve also got Tall Paul. He is a Native American rapper. He has a really beautiful song that I hope he’ll do tomorrow that he actually does in Ojibwe,” she said. The festival also included performances by the Energy Dance Collective, Mundo Libre, and Shiro Dame, a band featuring Sarah White, who formerly sang and rapped in the band Black Blondie. DJ Willie Shu and DJ Just Nine kept folks dancing and the atmosphere light and fun.
The event was hosted by Alicia Steele, vocalist of R&B and jazz project Alicia Steele and The Endeavors. One of many heart warming moments was her shout out to her multiracial parents, who were together in the audience. Adding to the sweet family friendly vibe were art installations that were handmade by Claire and her parents.
Loving Day celebrations happen all over the country, and a movement is currently brewing to get it federally recognized. One of MXDWELL’s goals in continuing to host the celebration annually is to draw attention to the date. “I hope people tomorrow have not heard of Loving Day and will get familiarized with it that way. That way we’re doing our part in spreading the word,” Claire said the night before the event.
Despite the fact that Loving v. Virginia was 47 years ago, race continues to be a hot topic, and probably always will. “It would be great to ignore it, to pretend to live in a color blind society, but we just don’t. I try to play my part, and MXDWELL tries to play its part, in making it a positive conversation and celebration,” said Claire.