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A walk for equality

The rainbow flag is making its way across the nation. From the Golden Gate Bridge to the Statue of Liberty, a California man is walking the flag from sea to shining sea.

Richard Noble said he snapped after hearing about the recent string of youth suicides. He just couldn’t take all the bigotry, hatred and bullying and felt he had to do something to stop it all.

On March 12, 2011, Noble grabbed his rainbow flag and started walking, and he’s been walking ever since. Sure, there are stops for food, sleeping and supplies. But his biggest and most time consuming stops are his efforts with local governments.

“It’s been exhausting already, but the endorsements are starting to come in,” Noble said. “We’re starting to get the support from city governments that we need. We’re calling on the federal government to modernize the Civil Rights Act of 1964.”

His resolution asks the federal government to include gender identity and sexual orientation in the federal legislation that would protect against discrimination. He’s already garnered support from the West Hollywood City Council, the mayor of Sacramento and the list keeps growing.

“We’re going to make a difference,” Noble said. “We have to make a difference. I can’t just sit idly by and watch as our kids get bullied into suicide.”

Noble, who is 45 years old, is working his way through Northern Nevada and plans on being in Utah in the middle of June. He hopes to meet with the city council here and he’s even planning a rally.

“I want people to join me for the last 20 miles into Salt Lake,” Noble said. “Come walk with me and spend a night on the street as I march into the city.”

Noble is planning a rally and a march and hopes to cover the town with small rainbow flags.

“It’s about awareness and knowledge,” Noble said. “We need more education for all; for our own community and for the general public.”

As the trends in the courts and the general opinion shift toward full marriage equality and equal protection under the law, the momentum needs to continue and local governments need to act, Noble said.

As Noble is walking across the country, he lives off of $20 a day.

“That includes my morning Starbucks, my food for the day and whatever other supplies I might need,” he said. “It’s been a struggle, but I’m getting stronger every day.”

For more information on how to help him in his walk, participate in the walk and rally or just to follow his journey, go to walk.usfreedomring.com.

Seth Bracken

Seth Bracken is the editor of QSaltLake

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