You hardly ever hear of a new idea or movement that doesn’t want you to contribute money in one form or another. But March to Equality is taking a unique … and free … web-based approach to raising awareness for the need for full inclusion and equality for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals by engaging people from all backgrounds to become activists in the pursuit of human rights on a global scale – all by walking.
Your footsteps are your donation! In this virtual global march for LGBT equality all you need to do is upload the number of steps you take. It can be the steps in a sponsored run you’ve signed up for or just running your daily errands. The goal is to reach enough steps to circumnavigate the globe by the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in New York City coming up June 28, 2019. The anniversary celebration will culminate with planned events, giving everyone who has participated a feeling of contributing to a global movement that’s making a difference in the world.
The campaign is the brainchild of LGBT advocate Stephan Anspichler, a German film and television producer. Looking at the 2015 film release schedule, he realized in the fall of 2014 that the LGBT movement was gaining real ground. Comparing it to the human empowerment movement, he began to see that this quest for full LGBT inclusion and equality is the movement of our time.
Anspichler wanted to attract attention to the event while honoring the many steps it took from those early activists up to today’s LGBT leaders who are working to expand the idea that LGBT persons deserve the same basic respect and dignity as any other citizen of the world. And from that came the idea of virtual steps people today can take to be part of this movement – we can all participate.
Estimating that the March to Equality (MTE) will require 50 million steps to circle the globe, MTE provides an easy step-calculator, marchtoequality.org/step-tracker, on the website. Once you login with a Facebook or Google+ profile, you can enter the steps, miles or kilometers you just walked. Or you can simply take a photograph of a step you’re currently taking and upload it to your profile. You can even make a maximum 12-minute-video of your experience, connecting your thoughts and feelings about your personal march. Each physical step taken and submitted is equal to one step in the march.
Share your picture or video on Facebook, Google+, Instagram or Twitter by using the hashtag #MarchToEquality and invite your friends or your workplace colleagues to get involved – #MarchToEquality keeps track of the community’s equality world record. It’s a great way to foster a team atmosphere and a little friendly competition. For already-formed sports teams and leagues, it becomes another way to boost the camaraderie that already exists. And it doesn’t need to be a one-time submission. The more steps, the better.
While this project is a lot of fun, there is a very serious reason behind it that needs to be remembered, especially with the recent mass murder of 49 gay club goers in Orlando and the wounding of so many others, physically, mentally and emotionally. In at least 76 countries it is still illegal to be gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.
It is the reason that MTE kicked off its collaboration with the UN Free and Equal campaign during the United Nations 70th General Assembly. Just a few of the other organizations partnering with MTE include: Pride and Prejudice (The Economist), Orbitz Worldwide and Toyota Motor Corporation.
There are also a number of global MTE ambassadors who are advocating for LGBT inclusion and equality in their home countries, one of whom is Billy Bean, openly gay former major league baseball (MLB) player who is now MLB’s vice president of social responsibility.
The March to Equality is a 501(3)(c) non-profit organization. To receive daily MTE news, like MTE on Facebook:
www.facebook.com/MarchToEquality or sign up for more information at www.marchtoequality.org or email your questions or event support requests to i[email protected].
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