– By PAUL SLOBODZIAN
Although mixed race couples are more commonplace in today’s society, the idea of two opposing races marrying was controversial no less than 50 years ago, and those couples all across the United States could not even marry legally until 1967.
Local newlyweds Chris and Ali Jones, however, eloped in February 2016 and have experienced the ways mixed race marriage has affected their lives first-hand.
The lovers came from two different backgrounds, Ali growing up in Georgia and Chris living in Oakland until he was 14, but the two found an instant connection after meeting for the first time early in 2013.
Upon moving back to Georgia from Jacksonville, Ali realized she was going to need some help unloading her belongings and asked her twin sister, Amy, to spread the word on Facebook, offering a pizza dinner as the reward for any volunteer(s). Coincidentally, Amy worked at Kroger with Chris, so he was able to help the sisters and he stayed for a party the sisters threw afterward.
“When I arrived at the house with the truck, I stepped out and Chris and I locked eyes for the first time,” Ali said. “It was very literally love at first sight. We never left each other’s side all night. Even when everyone else was inside at the party, we sat by the fire and talked for hours. We shared our first kiss the next night, and the rest is history.”
Ali wasn’t officially moving to Georgia until March 2013, so she and Chris were forced to communicate solely on the phone. They both agree, though, that the separation and lack of physical interaction during those two months helped strengthen their relationship because they got to know each really well before Ali’s permanent move back.
The couple continued to see each other – leading up to their eventual engagement and marriage, but the thought of their relationship did not resonate very well with a few of the members of their respective families.
According to Ali, Chris’ sister did not like her very much, but she thinks that it had to do with the fact that she was overprotective of her brother more so than the color of her skin. Also, Ali’s father had a small problem with their relationship initially, but a discussion with his daughter helped clear things up for him.
Other than those two instances, Ali said she and Chris did not experience much opposition when they decided to wed.
The Jones join a large percentage of mixed race couples in America that his risen greatly over the years, and they want to stress to other mixed race couples or unsure daters the importance of loving who they love.
“In this day and age, there are so many other things to worry about than the color of someone's skin,” Ali Jones said.
“This nation needs to come together, support each other, and love each other – white, black or anywhere in between,” she added. “If you're in love, and that person makes you feel good about yourself, takes care of you, and builds you up, who cares what anyone else says?”
Ali and Chris have taken notice of the United States’ progressive nature regarding interracial and even gay marriages and are happy to be a part of the movement.
“It's awesome to be a part of a new mindset that people have become so open-minded of people who are simply different than they are,” she said.