GAY ACTIVIST – RICHARD NOBLE – TO COMPLETE SOLO WALK ACROSS AMERICA WITH 11 MAYORAL PROCLAMATIONS CALLING FOR FEDERAL LGBT CIVIL RIGHTS
Having walked across ten states and over 2700 miles, Richard Noble, a 46 year old gay rights activist, will arrive in Jacksonville, Florida on Saturday, June 9th to a hero’s welcome for completing a historic “Civil Rights Walk Across America” carrying the Rainbow Flag and a bill seeking full federal equality for LGBT Americans – The American Equality Bill.
Eleven Mayors and three City Councils from a diverse array of cities, including Salt Lake City, Birmingham, Biloxi, Baton Rouge, Mobile, Austin, Houston, Oakland, Boulder, West Hollywood, Tallahassee and New Orleans issued official Proclamations in support of the Walk and demand that Congress add “sexual orientation and gender identity” to the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and related laws, as a matter of urgent public health and welfare.
At the finish line in Jacksonville, where the City Council will soon vote on a local civil rights ordinance, the Rainbow House GLBT Community Center and River City News Magazine will host a welcoming event starting at 1 p.m at the Rainbow House, 2857 Myra Street.
Dwight Eubanks of the Real Housewives of Atlanta and local leader Audry Morman will join representatives from LGBT Prides across the region, the ACLU, PFLAG, The American Equality Bill (AEB) Project and Obama for America in honoring Richard Noble and the Walk.
“I was overwhelmed by the rash of suicides, and so I walked,” said Richard Noble, who put his life in storage and started out from San Francisco last March, 2011. “I carried the Rainbow Flag through the desert and across the Rockies, to Matthew Shepard’s fence and Wounded Knee, to gay groups and elected officials, all to help light a fire for full equality and to talk about the insidious psychological and physical harm LGBT Americans suffer from discrimination.”
His route passed from Northwest to Southeast, when winter came. He visited with the Oglala Sioux and Paiute Native Americans, where he received blessings and was given the name “Poo’e’ta’gwena”, Paiute for rainbow, fitting because his walk made history by carrying the Rainbow Flag across America.
All tolled he has spent 15 months on the road, aided one town at a time by locals he met on the road or via Facebook and new friends. Hundreds of small and large gestures sustained him.
In Nevada, Lauren Scott, a transgender activist, buried food and water every twelve miles in the desert. While kids on the Sioux land in South Dakota offered him a soda, a mother driving by in Orange Texas gave all the change in her ashtray.
Along the way, he adopted a dog, Trinity, who walked over 700 miles, two of his supporters developed breast cancer, and one 23 year old, who had given up his room to Richard, thereafter died in a car accident. The stories captured in his travel blog are too many to canvass.
The Walk helped amplify The American Equality Bill (AEB) Project, a grassroots initiative with EqualityGiving.org designed to change the strategy of the modern LGBT movement from piecemeal issues to full federal equality via a one-bill solution outlawing discrimination categorically.
“When the Walk began this strategy was cutting edge, but now the politics and conversation are catching up,” said Todd Fernandez, the Campaign Facilitator for The AEB Project. “President Obama and the NAACP are now out front on this, and over 35 leading grassroots groups have joined together in demanding Congress enact full LGBT equality by 2014 – the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act.”
Along the journey, local LGBT groups offered loving support including the Metropolitan Community Church, New Orleans Pride, Out Boulder, the Gay & Lesbian Yellow Pages, openly lesbian Mayor Annise Parker, and others who opened doors and hosted events, several issuing their own Resolutions in support.
“We’ll now deliver the bundle in D.C. to the LGBT Congressional Caucus and the Human Rights Campaign, which have yet to demand full federal equality, and President Obama who seems charged to make our equality a reality,” said Richard. “Having visited roughly 200 cities and towns, it’s obvious we can’t do this one at a time and it’s time for the federal government to take action.”
All are invited to attend the Walk Finish Line event, June 9, 2012, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Rainbow House, 2857 Myra Street, Jacksonville, FL.
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Finish Line Event Speaker Lineup:
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