2010 Equality Rider: Emily Zahn


Name: Emily Zahn
Hometown: Beaver Falls, PA
Age: 20


I grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania. I went to church every Sunday, was a conservative Republican, supported all the “right” causes, and hated all the right people, just like I thought God wanted me too. Thankfully I realized that the “get-me-out-of-hell-free Jesus” did not exist. If Jesus only came to this earth in order to give us warm fuzzy feelings then He would not have been thrown out of towns, tried as a criminal, beaten within an inch of His life, and crucified. The radical politics of Jesus bid those who dare follow him to conduct their lives in the same way. This has been exemplified in history by suffragettes who protested a war time president, by Gandhi who conducted hunger strikes and led a nation to rise up to meet British forces in non-violence, by Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights activists who conducted sit-ins, by monks who burned themselves in protest of the Vietnam War, and now, within our movement, by blowing the whistle on the injustice and spiritual violence that the church is inflicting on God’s children. One quote by Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese witness to acts of non-violent protest, caught my attention: “Their enemies are not man. They are intolerance, fanaticism, dictatorship, cupidity, hatred, and discrimination which lie within the heart of man…. These are the real enemies of man—not man himself.”

Following the Triune God means laying aside yourself to help those in need, and this is what drew me to the Equality Ride. I love the prospect of going where hatred and intolerance are not only common but encouraged and bringing a message of peace, love, and community. I want to give a voice to those who have been scared and oppressed into silence. The Equality Ride is a unique opportunity to show my faith through persistent non-violent protest.



Emily has been sponsored a total amount of $.

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