We are pleased to announce the dates of Soulforce’s next Equality Ride. Our next ride will depart on March 4th, 2012 and will run through April 29th, 2012.
For the past five years Soulforce’s Equality Ride has been through hundreds of cities – reaching thousands of students and trained some of our country’s best young adult activists. The first ride in 2006 was chronicled in an award winning documentary entitled: Equality U. The film is phenomenal and available for purchase in our store.
Our mission is simple. We aim to visit the hundreds of schools in the United States that openly discriminate against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer individuals and their Allies (LGBTQA) through their policies and practices. On these campuses LGBTQA students and faculty are forced to suffer in silence. If they come out they are subject to expulsion and can even be forced into harmful "ex-gay" or "reparative" therapy programs.
Since it’s inception, the Equality Ride has catalyzed conversations and dialogue at these otherwise silent institutions. We have witnessed real change in practices and policies. Riders have worked to establish and strengthen Queer/Straight alliances all across the country. People have been provided with safe spaces in which to address the suffering they often feel at the hands of their schools and/or faith communities.
We strive to begin conversations at the institutions we visit. We go into these communities at the request and in collaboration with the very folks who are suffering in silence. We approach these communities with a relentless form of non-violent resistance.
Each year we bring in new riders who are given the best training in the non-violence method as well as training on how to organize to end the political and spiritual oppression felt by those in the LGBTQA community. In addition to this training – riders are taught to approach oppression from an intersectional lens – learning to fight racism, ableism, misogyny, classism, homophobia, transphobia, patriarchy, and other oppressive systems.
Best of all, our young adult riders are provided this life changing experience at no cost to them, ensuring that there is never a dollar amount required to be an activist fighting for social justice. All of our rider’s travel, accommodations, food, equipment, and training is provided by the generosity of our supporters.
This year there are several exciting new additions to our Equality Ride program. There will be an increased effort to build community support along our route in order to provide follow up and support systems for the young people at these institutions. We are pleased that renowned performers Ray Boltz and Azariah Southworth will join us in some of these communities for benefit concerts.
In addition to the community outreach efforts, we will also expand our leadership team with a special Advisory panel. This four person panel will be made up of former Equality Riders and expert community leaders. They will assist with the community planning, training, team building, logistical coordination, and technical support of the 2012 Equality Ride.
Applications to join our next Equality Ride and to apply for the advisory panel will be available soon. Signup to be notified when they are released.
Are you ready to join the next Equality Ride?
Learn how to financially support our next ride through a one time donation. More information coming soon for our "Get On The Bus" campaign, check back March 1!