3 women walk 101 miles around Ariz. to speak about LGBT equality - New York News

3 women walk 101 miles around Ariz. to speak about LGBT equality

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PHOENIX -

Three people completed their 101 mile walk across the state to spark conversations about equality for members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

Their journey began on July 17.

10 days later they were welcomed home with cheers and hugs at City Hall.

They walked through counties, they've caught eyes and answered questions about their mission.

"We tell them that Arizona has been a state for 101 years without equality for lesbian, gay, transgender people so we feel like the best way is to start conversation. So whether it's people walking down the street asking what we're doing, making meetings with council people, police departments, fire departments and just sitting down and having that conversation," said Liliana Montoya.

Montoya, Meg Sneed and Summer Schaurdt made memories to last a lifetime while crossing through the 15 counties.

"We walked 19 miles in Prescott, a mile for each fallen firefighter, and we placed a plaque with their name at each marker," said Montoya.

"I think that for me, training the US Border Patrol on LGBT 101 culture and competency and how open they were to the conversation and how they would like us to come back and do a longer training and think that in towns along the way we met police that really want this training. They want to be culturally competent," said Sneed.

It might sound insane to walk over 10 miles in Arizona's summer heat, but these equality walkers say that's not all that's crazy.

"It is a little bit crazy, but our state is also crazy to deny us rights based on who we love," said Sneed.

The walkers hope their journey and conversations with faith organizations, civil leaders and government officials brings them one step closer to equality.

"Once you hear our stories, you're gonna realize we're real people, we're real parts of this community and we deserve the same rights as everybody else," said Schaurdt.

101 miles marks the numbers of years Arizona has been a state without full legal equality for Arizonans.

They'll walk 102 miles next year if they don't see the changes they hope for.

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