Q: Do I have to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer to be on the Equality Ride?
A: No. In fact, we have had straight allies participate in every campaign. We believe allies are integral components of our efforts to achieve justice, and we encourage them to apply.
Q: Do I have to be a person of faith to be on the Equality Ride?
A: No. However, you do need to have a willingness to educate yourself and take religion seriously. Also, it is vital that you be able to respect relevant texts, as conversations are often scripture-based. Now, all of the schools we will visit in 2008 are faith-based, which, more often than not, means they are a Christian college or university.
Q: Do I just show up, get on a bus, and then ride around the country for two months?
A: Far from it! Your Equality Ride journey begins the day you are accepted. Not only will you be required to participate in weekly conference calls, but you will even organize an entire Equality Ride stop. That includes negotiation and planning with school administration, organizing community support, and extensive outreach to students. You will also be required to attend two training sessions: the first in July and the second in September, the week before you embark on the Equality Ride.
Q: Is participation free?
A: We realize that many people who want to work with us are from the very communities we visit and often do not have vast support systems. We also realize that many young adults do not have the resources to put their lives on hold for two months and pay their way on the Equality Ride. So, Soulforce Q covers the cost of all travel, food, lodging, and official Equality Ride apparel.
Q: Is the Equality Ride fun?
A: You will be living out of a suitcase… for approximately fifty days… with the same group of people. Meanwhile, you will encounter tremendous emotional and intellectual challenges, likely surpassing those that life has presented you thus far. If this sounds like fun to you, then you will be in good company because it is fun for us. And yes, there will be some downtime.
Q: I am a level 5 vegan. Will I be able to find food?
A: We provide a weekly food stipend, which allows you to be as creative as you’d like. We do our best to stop at grocery stores as often as possible. Also, there will be many dinners hosted by churches and community centers where they are usually more than happy to accommodate our needs. Nevertheless, adaptability is crucial to Equality Ride life.
Q: Where will we sleep?
A: We will sleep in hotels every night.
Q: Is the Equality Ride a bike ride?
A: Perhaps someday in the future it will be. But for now, we charter a 55-passenger tour bus as our chariot.
Q: Will I get arrested on the Equality Ride?
A: Hopefully not, and it is always a personal, voluntary decision. Arrest is never our goal. However, some schools choose to lock their doors and deny us the opportunity for dialogue. That occurrence can lead to civil disobedience. Though arrest is possible in such cases, it is always your choice whether to participate.
Q: Can my girlfriend/boyfriend/significant other/relative/friend/person-I-know join us on the road for a week?
A: The short answer is no. The long answer will come with time and be evaluated case by case.
Q: Can I be on the Equality Ride and still be a student?
A: Yes. While you do not have to have any college experience to go on the Equality Ride, past Equality Riders have been able to maintain their student status while on the road. However, because of the intense workload that the Ride requires itself, we do not encourage students to attempt to maintain fulltime status. Many schools have offered internship, fieldwork and independent study credits for the time spent on the Equality Ride. Others have also enrolled in online classes.