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‘I am Equal’ comes back to Salt Lake City

More than 500 people participated in the ‘I am Equal’ photo project in Salt Lake City on Nov. 9, said organizer Jason Beckett. Participants have their photos taken after they are stamped on the hand with a temporary tattoo that says, ‘I am Equal’ to show their support for various causes.

So far the project has visited 13 cities and taken photos of around 3,000 people. The goal is to reach 125,000 and visit 175 cities, Beckett said.

“Everyone comes for a different reason. Some people are here to support equal rights for the LGBT community. Others are here for women’s rights. It all depends on everyone’s situation, but they all have something they need to speak out about,” Beckett said. “The photos can be posted on Facebook, or anywhere else, and used as a conversation starter. It’s the perfect icebreaker to talk about something you didn’t know how to bring up.”

The project originally started in Salt Lake City in January 2011 when Beckett and co-organizer and photographer Matt Spencer wanted a way to help people start important conversations and show how many people support equality.

The participants at Salt Lake City’s photo shoot ranged from Occupy Salt Lake protesters to high school students, and even a mother of two, young girls.

“My little brother is gay and when he came out, I tried my best to let him know I supported him. I worry about him trying to find a job and when I hear about attacks on gay people, it just breaks my heart,” Camilla Parsons said. “I want to raise my girls to know that everyone is equal – that some people love boys, some people love girls and some people love both.”

For Alex Grey, a 23-year-old writer, the photo was an opportunity to speak out for gay rights.

“They say a picture is worth a thousand words. So if thousands of people get thousands of pictures taken, we’re starting a conversation that can actually make a difference,” Grey said.

Grey said he plans on putting his photo on his Facebook profile and he hopes it’s a way to start some conversations to spread the word.

The ‘I am Equal’ project is on the move, but to find out more information, go to IAmEqualProject.org or find the ‘I Am Equal’ Facebook page at Facebook.com/iamequal.

Seth Bracken

Seth Bracken is the editor of QSaltLake

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