National Civil Rights March Day announced in Salt Lake City
In a letter from Mayor Ralph Becker, the date July 5, 2011 was declared National Civil Rights March Across America Day in Salt Lake City. The day was named in honor of Richard Noble, who stopped in Salt Lake as he marches a rainbow flag across the United States.
Noble held a gathering to read the proclamation and a letter from openly gay U.S. Representative Jared Polis, from Colorado, to members of Utah’s queer youth.
“I started the march on March 12 because I had enough of bullying and mistreatment of our youth,” Noble said to the gathering of more than a dozen youth. “It must change and together, it will change.”
Polis’ letter encouraged Utah’s queer youth to maintain strength, despite bullying and other adversities.
Noble said his march is to raise awareness about all aspects of LGBT equality, but he is focusing on a movement to modernize the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include gender identity and sexual orientation.
He started walking from the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco and has made stops in various cities in California and Nevada. He has gained audiences, proclamations and meetings with city councils and mayors from West Hollywood, Reno, Ely and others. At his latest stop in Salt Lake City he marched around the perimeter of the city in a two-day trek where he invited any interested to walk with him.
“Grab some water and join up,” Noble said. “Everyone is welcome to walk with me as we fight for full civil rights and equality.”
His march around the city was kick-started by a walk from the Utah Pride Center to the City County building in Salt Lake City with queer youth and their supporters.
Helping Noble was a perfect fit to help unify different Queer Student Associations in Salt Lake City and across the state, Eric-Preston Hamren, the statewide coordinator for the Utah QSA network.
“When we heard about (Noble’s) march, we knew it was a perfect fit for us to help in a great way and to have something the QSAs to get behind,” Hamren said.
Noble’s walk around Salt Lake City was a brief stop in his march across the country, but he said his time in the city is important to him, and the causes he fights for.
“I love this city and everyone is so nice,” Noble said. “I think great things can be done here and I would love nothing more than to see that.”
After completing his two-day Salt Lake City trek, Noble began his journey across the state from St. George through Cedar City and on a north-eastern path. To help him on his walk, he accepts monetary donations as well as REI gift cards.
To follow his march or to make a donation, go to his blog at walk.usfreedomring.com.