The Equality Ride stop at the University of Notre Dame was March 8-9, 2007.
Notre Dame was our first visit on the Ride and was celebration in many ways. We as Riders were affirmed that we can do this, we can interact with students, we can cross police lines, we can confront opposition with peace and love, we can stand together, we can present information, we can be with students, we can be Equality Riders.
Our hope was to interact with students, converse with them and learn from them. Our hope was to spark a change in helping create a universal Church that opens her doors to all. We were able to start our day with Mass with students, eat lunch with them, and were able to speak with students and professors. Three courageous students stepped forward and two shared their incredible stories. Kelsey and Delfin shared their stories and than invited the campus community to interact with the Equality Riders. Delfin was pulled aside by campus security and given a warning/citation for trespassing as well as Haven. Four other Riders were given the same warning for passing out brochures and fliers to students who requester them. One student who received the flier joined us at various activities we organized and he shared what a difference the Ride made in his life.
The Ride was invited to UCC Zion church for an evening of artistic expression and presentations. We as Riders were welcomed and accepted which was a contrast to how we were treated earlier in the day by Notre Dame.
Our second day at Notre Dame, we began with a vigil line outside the campus. Six Riders (Kelsey, Haven, Jess, Mike, Delfin, Dan) were joined by Notre Dame student Eddie Velasquez to walk onto campus carrying three wreaths in honor of those who have been silenced and those who have been courageously open about loving beyond the norm. Outside the campus, Riders were joined by community supporters to stand vigil in prayerful support of the procession. The seven of us were pulled aside by campus security midway through our procession. Haven and Delfin were arrested immediately; Mike, Dan, Jess, and Kelsey were given warnings but stated that they would deliver the wreath — the four of them were arrested as well. The six Riders were booked, escorted off campus, and taken to their hotel by campus police. Eddie was told he could be possibly suspended but kept walking and delivered the wreath to the monument of Tom Dooley.
The Riders than went to Lula’s Caf愰 for lunch and student conversation. We than went to the GLBT Resource Center of Michiana to watch a documentary and have a discussion on the film "In Good Conscience" which is about the life of Sister Jeanine Gramick whose activism led her to the Vatican to advocate for LGBT rights. After the film and discussion, Riders Mike, Tab, Kourt, Jillian, Delfin, and Jess stayed at the center to participate in a youth group.
If you are a student at the University of Notre Dame, an alumni of the University of Notre Dame, or a concerned citizen in the Notre Dame, Indiana area and would like to help with the Soulforce Equality Ride’s visit to the University of Notre Dame, please register below.
Read about the University of Notre Dame and GLBT equality.