GOOD

Watch The Most “Loving” Movie Of The Year

And help the ACLU while you’re at it

Acts of civil disobedience and fiery speeches helped ignite the civil rights movement of the ’60s. But a much quieter battle for equality began in 1958, when interracial couple Richard Loving and Mildred Delores Jeter married in Washington, D.C., to avoid Virginia’s Racial Integrity Act of 1924, which outlawed marriages between whites and nonwhites. The couple’s love and defiance ultimately took them to the Supreme Court, where the justices ruled the Virginia anti-miscegenation law unconstitutional.

This battle is detailed in Focus Feature’s recent Golden Globe and Oscar-nominated film Loving. Directed by Jeff Nichols (Mud, Midnight Special), and starring Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga, Loving is steeped in rural quietude, with the Lovings simply trying to exist and often watching the American Civil Liberties Union fight from afar. The filmmakers will be auctioning off various experiences, film props, and concert tickets throughout the month of February to help raise money that will be donated to the ACLU of Southern California. The We Stand for Love fundraiser coincides with both Valentine’s Day and Black History Month.


[quote position="right" is_quote="true"]Their case was so strong because of the sincerity of the love they felt for one another.[/quote]

For his part, Nichols is offering either an in-person or Skype mentoring session. Other items up for bid included two tickets to the closing night of Oh Hello On Broadway, starring Nick Kroll (who plays ACLU lawyer Bernard Cohen in Loving). Still up for grabs are a Loving film package that includes an authentic frame print of Richard and Mildred’s Life magazine shoot by photographer Grey Villet, movie props, and a signed poster. Focus Features is also offering a Loving Date Night package that includes two tickets to a Ben Lee concert and a post-show meet and greet.

Nichols, who spoke with GOOD about the Lovings’ history and We Stand for Love, says he was approached to direct Loving back in 2012. The producers wanted to turn Nancy Buirski’s 2011 HBO documentary The Loving Story—which leaned heavily on filmmaker Hope Ryden’s archival footage and Life magazine photos of the couple—into a feature film. Like many people, Nichols hadn’t heard about the Lovings’ court battles.

“I grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas, and went to Little Rock Central High, which was at center of the desegregation crisis in 1957, and I graduated in 1997,” Nichols says. “That year they were building a museum and a lot of our assemblies were about the history and movement … So, I just felt like I paid attention, that I had a fair grounding in civil rights history, and to not know about this particular case floored me, especially in 2012 when we’re in the middle of the marriage equality battle.”

Despite being a latecomer to the story, Nichols dove into the backstory. After seeing Buirski’s documentary, as well as Ryden’s archival footage and the Life photographs, he could understand how the two fell in love. He also could fathom how they could fight for that love all the way up to the Supreme Court.

Nichols felt that his task as a filmmaker was to try to give Richard and Mildred life through the actors and represent them faithfully. Of course, he knew that Loving would be his cinematic rendition of the couple’s love and legal battles, but he wanted the film to hit as close to the mark of reality as possible.

“The real task at hand is to make the story as human as possible,” says Nichols. “If you pursue an honest portrayal of Richard and Mildred Loving, you will be a telling story that is undeniably apolitical and not pursuing an agenda, but having the effect of moving the needle in terms of the civil and political conversation.”

[quote position="left" is_quote="true"]It’s very hard to argue with someone who thinks you shouldn’t exist in the first place. The only way to do this is to just live your life.[/quote]

As Nichols sees it, Richard and Mildred’s lives had an effect on these conversations, but their lives were not a representation of them. They didn’t join picket lines or otherwise become involved in the civil rights movement. They were instead conscientious objectors of the way laws were being applied to their life. And from their perspective, says Nichols, their existence was being put on trial.

“People didn’t like the fact that they existed, and it’s very hard to argue with someone who thinks you shouldn’t exist in the first place,” Nichols says. “The only way to do this is to just live your life, and that was their form of protest.”

“You have to think as a filmmaker and a storyteller, you want to show the audience something they’ve never seen before,” he adds. “You never want to show something where they’re so far ahead of you in terms of where you’re taking it.”

Which is why Nichols avoided a courtroom drama. It would have meant he was focusing on something that wasn’t the Loving’s reality—and also attaching an agenda to it.

“The more pointed you make your social commentary inside the framework of the film, the weaker you make it,” Nichols observes. “Their point, I think, was so strong because of the sincerity of the love they felt for one another. I think had they been trying to make us change our opinion, had they been trying to reach out and rattle our cages, then I think you can start to argue the sincerity of their love.”

“They didn’t go to the Supreme Court in person, so let me be the one to shoulder the burden of the fact that a lot of people might find this film undramatic or slow or boring or not enough,” he adds. “But the one thing I won’t do is betray the essence of what Richard and Mildred were.”

As for Focus Features’ auction, Nichols is happy to connect Richard and Mildred’s story to the present-day ACLU, which is already fighting courtroom battles in the first 100 days of the Trump presidency. While this fundraising effort isn’t the first to benefit the ACLU in the last few months, it is no doubt a very visible endorsement of the ACLU’s work.

[quote position="full" is_quote="true"]Without the ACLU’s funding, talent, knowledge, and the power of its people, the Lovings could never exist.[/quote]

“The ACLU, in an ultimate way, got this case through the gauntlet and all the way to the Supreme Court,” says Nichols. “I think without their funding, talent, knowledge, and the power of its people, the Lovings could never exist. There really is no other organization that I know of that is so out in front of civil rights issues … and we have to support them.”

Articles
via Collection of the New-York Historical Society / Wikimedia Commons

Fredrick Douglass was born into slavery in 1818. At the age of 10 he was given to the Auld family.

As a child, he worked as a house slave and was able to learn to read and write, and he attempted to teach his fellow slaves the same skills.

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via Thomas Ledia / Wikimedia Commons

On April 20, 1889 at the Braunau am Inn, in Upper Austria Salzburger located at Vorstadt 15, Alois and Klara Hitler brought a son into the world. They named him Adolph.

Little did they know he would grow up to be one of the greatest forces of evil the world has ever known.

The Hitlers moved out of the Braunau am Inn when Adolph was three, but the three-story butter-colored building still stands. It has been the subject of controversy for seven decades.

via Thomas Ledia / Wikimedia Commons

The building was a meeting place for Nazi loyalists in the 1930s and '40s. After World War II, the building has become an informal pilgrimage site for neo-Nazis and veterans to glorify the murderous dictator.

The building was a thorn in the side to local government and residents to say the least.

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For years it was owned by Gerlinde Pommer, a descendant of the original owners. The Austrian government made numerous attempts to purchase it from her, but to no avail. The building has served many purposes, a school, a library, and a makeshift museum.

In 1989, a stone from the building was inscribed with:

"For Peace, Freedom

and Democracy.

Never Again Fascism.

Millions of Dead Remind [us]."

via Jo Oh / Wikimedia Commons

For three decades it was home to an organization that offered support and integration assistance for disabled people. But in 2011, the organization vacated the property because Pommer refused to bring it up to code.

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In 2017, the fight between the government and Pommer ended with it seizing the property. Authorities said it would get a "thorough architectural remodeling is necessary to permanently prevent the recognition and the symbolism of the building."

Now, the government intends to turn it into a police station which will surely deter any neo-Nazis from hanging around the building.

Austria has strict anti-Nazi laws that aim to prohibit any potential Nazi revival. The laws state that anyone who denies, belittles, condones or tries to justify the Nazi genocide or other Nazi crimes against humanity shall be punished with imprisonment for one year up to ten years.

In Austria the anti-Nazi laws are so strict one can go to prison for making the Nazi hand salute or saying "Heil Hitler."

"The future use of the house by the police should send an unmistakable signal that the role of this building as a memorial to the Nazis has been permanently revoked," Austria's IInterior Minister, Wolfgang Peschorn said in a statement.

The house is set to be redesigned following an international architectural competition.

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Amazon's "The Man in the High Castle" debuted the first episode of its final season last week.

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via Mike Mozart / Flickr

Chick-fil-A is the third-largest fast food chain in America, behind McDonald's and Starbucks, raking in over $10 billion a year.

But for years, the company has faced boycotts for supporting anti-LGBT charities, including the Salvation Army, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and the Paul Anderson Youth Home.

The Salvation Army faced criticism after a leader in the organization implied that gay people "deserve to die" and the company also came under fire after refusing to offer same-sex couples health insurance. But the organization swears it's evolving on such issues.

via Thomas Hawk / Flickr

The Fellowship of Christian Athletes explicitly announced it was anti gay marriage in a recent "Statement of Faith."

God instituted marriage between one man and one woman as the foundation of the family and the basic structure of human society. For this reason, we believe that marriage is exclusively the union of one man and one woman.

The Paul Anderson Youth Home teaches boys that homosexuality is wrong and that same-sex marriage is "rage against Jesus Christ and His values."

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In 2012, Chick-fil-A's CEO, Dan Cathy, made anti same-sex marriage comments on a radio broadcast:

I think we are inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, "We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage". I pray God's mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about.

But the chicken giant has now decided to change it's says its charitable donation strategy because it's bad for business...Not because being homophobic is wrong.

The company recently lost several bids to provide concessions in U.S. airports. A pop-up shop in England was told it would not be renewed after eight days following LGBTQ protests.

Chick-fil-A also has plans to expand to Boston, Massachusetts where its mayor, Thomas Menino, pledged to ban the restaurant from the city.

via Wikimedia Commons

"There's no question we know that, as we go into new markets, we need to be clear about who we are," Chick-fil-A President and Chief Operating Officer Tim Tassopoulos told Bisnow. "There are lots of articles and newscasts about Chick-fil-A, and we thought we needed to be clear about our message."

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Instead, the Chick-fil-A Foundation plans to give $9 million to organizations that support education and fight homelessness. Which is commendable regardless of the company's troubled past.

"If Chick-Fil-A is serious about their pledge to stop holding hands with divisive anti-LGBTQ activists, then further transparency is needed regarding their deep ties to organizations like Focus on the Family, which exist purely to harm LGBTQ people and families," Drew Anderson, GLAAD's director of campaigns and rapid response, said in a statement.

Chick-fil-A's decision to back down from contributing to anti-LGBT charities shows the power that people have to fight back against companies by hitting them where it really hurts — the pocket book.

The question remains: If you previously avoided Chick-fil-A because it supported anti-LGBT organizations, is it now OK to eat there? Especially when Popeye's chicken sandwich is so good people will kill for it?

Lifestyle

Oh, irony. You are having quite a day.

The Italian region of Veneto, which includes the city of Venice, is currently experiencing historic flooding. Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro has stated that the flooding is a direct result of climate change, with the tide measuring the highest level in 50 years. The city (which is actually a collection of 100 islands in a lagoon—hence its famous canal streets), is no stranger to regular flooding, but is currently on the brink of declaring a state of emergency as waters refuse to recede.

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