Travel and accommodations to the Loving press conference provided by Focus Features. All opinions are my own.
When word of the Loving movie first came out, I had no idea what it was about. Like most Americans, I had never heard of the Lovings. I didn't know that this incredibly couple help shaped the country that I love. I didn't realize that it was because of them, that I am allowed to marry the man that I love. Their story is like no other because the Lovings weren't an interracial couple fighting for the freedoms of America. They were simply a couple, a family, that fought for their right to live and love together – in the land of the free.
1. Never give up on love
Richard and Mildred Loving never gave up on love. They fought because they loved one another. They were dedicated to staying together as a husband and wife, as a family. Even after Virginia forced them to leave the state they still fought. They knew it wasn't right. They could have given up on their marriage. They could have quietly left VA. They could have done as they were told, but they didn't because it wasn't right. Love isn't only between and husband and wife, it's between family. The Lovings missed their families in VA – so they fought to go back.
2. Not everyone will understand or agree
Just because you know what's right, doesn't mean that everyone will. The Loving film taught me that not everyone will understand or agree with your decisions. The state of Virginia didn't agree with their love. I'm sure friends and family didn't understand why Richard and Mildred continued to see one another, when VA prohibited it. Mildred's sister was very supportive of their love, but she was even angry about their decision to stay married and leave Virginia. Just because people don't agree or understand, doesn't mean that your decisions aren't the right ones.
3. Love takes sacrifice
Love is not easy. We still see a lot of discrimination today! I can't count on my fingers the number of times that I've experienced discrimination for many reasons: because I'm white, because I'm in an interracial relationship, because I have tattoos, because I'm young, because I'm a woman. My life has been full of judgement, even in a country as free as America. Loving taught me that love takes sacrifice. Sometimes you have to sacrifice the acceptance of others to follow your heart. It even means cutting off family and friends that don't agree with your love.
4.Follow Your Heart
Loving teaches an audience to follow their heart. Sometimes your heart will tell you something and the world will tell you something different. Go with you heart – always! There's something inside of you that will tell you what is right and what isn't. If you don't get any uneasy feeling at all, it's because you're feeding your soul. If the Lovings didn't follow their hearts, if they allowed the state of Viriginia sway their beliefs, would be able to love and marry freely? It's very doubtful. Sometimes we are taught something and it's wrong. Always follow your heart. Be like the Lovings!
5. Fight for what's right
I think the main message that can be taken away from the Loving movie is to fight for what's right. One of my favorite sayings is, “Always stand for what you believe in, even if it means you're standing alone.” That couldn't be a more fitting message. I'm sure there were moments when the Lovings felt as if they were standing alone, even with the support of their family. It must be very daunting to fight against the state, to fight against someone that could take away your freedom. They still did it though. Even after things had calmed and the state surely had long forgotten the Lovings, they still fought. Even when they wanted to give up, they kept fighting. Even when they realized that they could be standing in front of the Supreme Court – they still fought. I think we could all learn a lesson from the Lovings. I sure would love to meet individuals as influential as them.
Now in Select Theaters
From acclaimed writer/director Jeff Nichols (“Take Shelter,” “Mud,” “Midnight Special”), LOVING celebrates the real-life courage and commitment of an interracial couple, Richard and Mildred Loving (Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga), who married and then spent the next nine years fighting for the right to live as a family in their hometown. Their civil rights case, Loving v. Virginia, went all the way to the Supreme Court, which in 1967 reaffirmed the very foundation of the right to marry – and their love story has become an inspiration to couples ever since.