Here’s to more Black couples saying ‘I do’ a thousand times over. As Black Marriage Day rolls around tomorrow, some 300 communities nationwide are expected to join in on the fun, reports the Associated Press. The buzz about the annual celebration, which aims to reverse a “trend of non-commitment in the Black community,” is gaining traction, according to it’s creator Nisa Islam Muhammad, who spearheaded the initiative eight years ago. But why the need for a Black Marriage Day? The numbers say it all. According to the 2009 Census 42% of Black adults have never been married, compared with 24% of all White adults. For Black women the rates are lower: some 31% have never walked down the aisle by the time they reach their 40’s, as compared to 9% of White women. It’s not to say that Black adults think of marriage as a bad thing, says sociology professor Andrew Cherlin. It’s that they’re not finding a suitable partner. High unemployment and incarceration rates among Black men don’t make it any easier. Not to mention the disparity in higher education, where Black women far outnumber Black men. Another cause may be that Black women are encouraged to seek independence–even from men–until they are successful, Prairie Vew A&M University sociologist Kanyatta Phelps recently told the Houston Chronicle. “Data shows that White females are told success and family go hand in hand and success may take a backseat to family.” “I personally think it’s a coping mechanism. African-American women are delving into opportunities for success to deal with not having a partner,” she added. The media may be also be partly to blame for not showing positive images of Black marriage, notes BMD founder Muhammad. But with her initiative, and the release of films like “You Saved Me” and “Why Did I get Married, Too?” let’s hope the conversation about Black marriage gets to a fever pitch. Read More: