Editor's Note: This is mostly a press release; I take no credit for this work, but I wanted to post this information because I think it's a really interesting action. We'll see how it plays out.
On March 12, 2011 at 10 a.m., longtime LGBT activist Richard Noble will begin a 3500 mile journey across the nation. His purpose: to raise awareness and support for an LGBT Civil Rights Omnibus bill.
The cross-continental walk will begin with a press conference and assembling of the Rainbow Flag at Harvey Milk's store on the Castro, before heading to the ferry where Noble will head across the bay, and begin a 9 month walk across America. He will literally march the Rainbow Flag, the international symbol for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer people, from the Golden Gates in San Francisco to the Statue of Liberty in New York.
This will be the first time in history the Rainbow Flag, the pride of gay America, will be walked across America by an openly gay man all by himself.
The walk will take Noble to such cities as Salt Lake City, Laramie, Denver, Topeka, Philadelphia, and New York City, and will culminate with a celebration rally and dinner in Washington, DC, where he will be joined by other civil rights activists. LGBTQI community centers across the nation are invited to meet Noble along the national route. Supporters are encouraged to contact Noble to offer much needed resources, supplies, and fiscal support for the walk.
"How many suicides will it take for LGBTQI Americans to be treated with full equality?" says Noble. "It will take nearly a year of my life to complete this walk. I am walking especially for the youth. I am walking for those who feel they have no hope. I am walking for my fellow Americans to wake up and do what is right! This coast to coast walk is a call to action against discrimination, bullies, and injustice. And I will continue to walk until there is full equality for all."
Noble has recently submitted resolutions to many cities in California, including San Francisco, West Hollywood, Oakland, and Palm Springs, and will continue to do so in other cities on the coast to coast walk. He will also be meeting with San Francisco Supervisor Scott Weiner and Representative Barbara Lee’s (D-Oakland) staff in Oakland, to discuss the strategy for an LGBT Omnibus Bill and the American Equality Bill, which would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
"The inability to legally marry, the injustice of having been fired for being who we are, the recent hate crimes in Texas and other states, the list goes on and on," says Noble. "But it is the deaths and suicides of our young people that finally broke the camels back. I knew immediately I had to walk across America for these youth."
Noble, a founding member of Queer Nation Los Angeles, has been featured in both the Huffington Post and The Advocate; he is well known for his many confrontations with celebrities, sports figures and politicians gaining him a national reputation of publicly confronting homophobia and the bullies behind it. His work on the Hollywood Homophobia Campaign in Los Angeles helped break the silence and negative sterotypes of the 90’s, when such movies as My Own Private Idaho and Paris Is Burning were not acknowledged by the Academy.
Noble's first major stop will be the Paiute Indian Reservation in Walker River Valley, Nevada, where the Paiute Cultural Affairs Department will hold a Pow-Wow dinner celebration in honor of the coast to coast walk. His sentiments on civil rights or sovereignity are shared by many who will be at this sacred gathering.
“I had a vision of The Dance of the Two-Spirits, as LGBTQI people are referred to in Native American culture," says Noble, "I contacted their Cultural Affairs Chairman, and she put me in touch with their well traveled Pow-Wow dancers; which are writing and choreographing a sacred dance, collaborating with the vision, that will be performed for the first time at the ceremony. This beautiful act of kindness, generosity, and wisdom is happening the same week as their Gathering of Indian Nations."
Richard Noble is an active and founding member of Connecting Rainbows - Civil Rights Walks for America: www.connectingrainbows.ning a nationwide network which began in November of 2010, encouraging bold action and increasing support of the LGBTQI Civil Rights Movement. Their mission is to create a mass movement demanding FULL civil rights for Queer people in America. Other Connecting Rainbows activists will also be taking their own individual walks in America.
Noble plans on carrying a backpack, tent, and sleeping back; and is using couchsurfers.com for friendly places to stay. Media, supporters, friends, and family are welcome to stay in touch via Skype: richardnoble, and Twitter: richardnoble.
At this time, you can see the route of his journey through Carson City, Nev. here. It will be updated in the future as the walk progresses.
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