Equality Riders to Return to Clinton, Miss., Site of Police Harassment and Intimidation in 2007

Young Adults Tour Christian Colleges to Advocate Safety and Inclusion for All Students

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SOULFORCE MEDIA ADVISORY: October 14, 2008
For Immediate Release

Contact: Caitlin MacIntyre, 
Equality Ride Media Director
Cell: 612-715-6138 Email: caitlin@equalityride.com
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What: On October 19 and 20, the Soulforce Q Equality Ride, a six-week bus tour to faith-based colleges, will bring a message of safety and inclusion to Mississippi College in Clinton, Miss. The Equality Ride promotes safe educational settings for all students, including those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT).

When the Equality Ride visited Mississippi College in 2007, Clinton police issued a written warning that Riders would be arrested for congregating in groups of four or more near the campus. The ACLU of Mississippi intervened, and the Clinton police withdrew the unconstitutional restrictions on First Amendment rights.

However, as the young adult Equality Riders attempted to depart from Clinton, Mississippi, they were stopped three times by police vehicles within less than ten minutes. Their driver was subjected to threatening demands to "get out of town." Leaders of six national equality organizations wrote a letter of protest to Mayor Aultman of Clinton.

Why: More than 200 U.S. colleges and universities have explicit policies that discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) students. At Mississippi College the student handbook states, "sexual impropriety includes but is not limited to participation in or appearance of engaging in premarital sex, extramarital sex or homosexual activities."

Equality Riders have been in contact with several students on campus, including one who feels that coming out on campus is not possible for her. She has stated that she fears the repercussions of coming out and the reactions of her peers and administration.

When: Sunday, October 19, 2008
8:00 pm, Candlelight vigil

Monday, October 20, 2008
9:00 am, Vigil
1:00 pm, Equality Ride attempts to go on campus

Where: Vigil will take place on College Street across from the Aven Arts Building (same as last year).

Soulforce Q is the young adult division of Soulforce, a social justice organization that works to end political and religious oppression of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people through relentless nonviolent resistance. For more information, go to www.equalityride.com.

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