The Rapidian

West Michigan's Loving Day Celebration kicks off today

Edye Evans Hyde, executive director of Ebony Road Players, is known both locally and beyond for her incomparable musical and theater talents. And this time of year, you will also find her immersed in a series of community events that make up West Michigan’s Loving Day Celebration.
Evans Hyde Family

Evans Hyde Family /Edye Evans Hyde

Edye Evans Hyde, executive director of Ebony Road Players, is known both locally and beyond for her incomparable vocal and theater talents. And this time of year, you will also find her immersed in a series of community events that make up West Michigan’s Loving Day Celebration, which she founded four years ago as a tribute to Mildred and Richard Loving. The Lovings, an interracial couple from Virginia, fought all the way to the Supreme Court for their right to be married. On June 12, 1967, Loving v. Virginia banned the last of the segregation laws against interracial marriage in the United States. Today, Loving Day is recognized nationally on June 12, and West Michigan's Loving Day Celebration will be held in Grand Rapids with a series of events from June 11 – 17.

Evans Hyde wants all people who support love in its various forms to celebrate the weeklong West Michigan's Loving Day Celebration. The events kick off at Celebration! Cinema North on Monday, June 11, from 7 – 9 p.m., with a showing of the award-winning documentary film, Little White Lie. This is a personal documentary about dual identity, race, and the legacy of family secrets, denial, and redemption. Immediately following will be a special Q & A session with the filmmaker, Lacey Schwartz. Tickets are free but attendees should register online.

On Saturday, June 16, head to Rosa Parks Circle for the Loving Day Community Family Picnic and Dance from 4 to 8 p.m. The evening is sure to bring all families together in a celebration of unity and multiculturalism. Some food will be sold on sight, but families are encouraged to bring a picnic and enjoy a communal meal together. There will also be vendors, a concert by Kevin Jones and the 10th World, a family dance party lead by Deavondre Jones of DanceSpire and Imprint Dance Company, kids' activities, including family dance instruction, and a chance to get a picture taken with the superhero Black Panther.     

Finally, Neither There, Nor Here will be performed at Wealthy Theatre on Sunday, June 17, at 3 p.m. This is an original, multimedia, interdisciplinary memory play-meets-cooking show directed by A Host of People co-director, Sherrine Azab, and is collectively created by the ensemble. Neither There, Nor Here focuses on the experience of people with liminal identities of race, gender, culture, and sexuality who live between so-called traditional binaries to create their own cultures that move beyond more typical either/or identities—all through the lens of a live televised cooking show. Azab will act as host and “chef de cuisine” while the five other performers will each lead a segment that delves into their personal identities. As the performers tell their stories, family photos will be projected onto the set by Azab, who controls a live-feed camera, and each story will spill into other more theatrical modes from table-top theater to strange dances to a pop song sing-along. Tickets can be purchased online

We hope to see you and your entire family at this year’s West Michigan’s Loving Day Celebration events. You can also show your support by making a donation or by volunteering!

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