On Saturday, April 21st, gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Shelby County residents and their straight allies will take to the streets demanding marriage equality and inclusive nondiscrimination policies.
But this civil rights march is happening miles from the nearest Midtown "gayborhood." Equality advocates are taking to the streets of Millington for the "Let's Reach One Million People" march.
"Millington has a lot of aspects that make it good for something like this," says march organizer Jami Bevers. "By being so close to Memphis, it has the support of the city's LGBT organizations. Millington houses the naval base, and it has a rear admiral and a vice admiral who play very key roles in policymaking."
With last year's repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," Bevers says Shelby County's military town is a good place to raise awareness about other equal-rights issues, such as same-sex marriage and the need for policies that protect people based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
The Millington march is one of 30 planned "Let's Reach One Million People" marches across the world aimed at bringing attention to equal-rights causes. Bevers says anyone can join the march, but she encourages marchers to bring homemade signs with pro-marriage or antidiscrimination messages.
Participants will meet at 10 a.m. at the VFW Post 7175 (4681 Cuba Millington), and the march will kick off at noon. After a half-mile walk along Highway 51, marchers will head back to the VFW hall for a post-march party with a DJ, volleyball games, grilled food, face painting, and a bounce house for kids.
Participants are encouraged to bring canned goods and shelf-stable foods to donate to the Memphis Gay & Lesbian Community Center's food pantry for homeless youth.
"Let's Reach One Million People" March, Saturday, April 21st, 10:30 a.m., VFW Post 7175 (4681 Cuba Millington). LGBTCivilRightsMarch@hotmail.com