Equality Ride Houses

equality ride

Help us reach our goal of $15,000 this month dedicated to the Equality Ride Houses this coming Spring. 

$2,000 provides housing for one month for the Equality Ride House Fellows

$1,100 provides the experience of the Creating Change Conference for one of our leaders to increase their facilitation and leadership skills

$375 provides airfare to get our trainers and staff to on-site prep and continual support on the ground in Los Angeles and Grand Rapids

$50 provides a bus pass for one month for a member of the House Crew

We are currently just $4,115 away from our goal!

I want to support the Equality Ride Houses right now! >>>

Stay in the Loop with the Equality Ride House Program:

Join the national  Equality Ride House email list to learn about ways to be involved from your hometown.

If you are local-ish to Los Angeles, then this is the list for you.

And if Michigan is your zip code, this is the email list for you.

Are you a student at a school near to Los Angeles or Grand Rapids?

Are you a student who would like to have an Equality Ride House in your area?

Contact Haven Herrin at haven@soulforce.org today to get involved. All contact will be kept strictly confidential.

 

What is a Soulforce Equality Ride House?

The Equality Ride has been instrumental in challenging and changing unjust policies and attitudes towards students and staff at distinctly Christian colleges and universities with onerous anti-LGBTQ policies since 2005. And in this process, we honor the many students and alumni who have boldly organized on campus and taken public leadership when it was risky.  

In the past, the Equality Ride has taken the shape of a bus of young activists traveling the country to visit colleges and universities where religious opposition to LGBTQ people is prevalent. We are now shifting to an Equality Ride House format that establishes communities of activists to work together towards the same goals of conversation, education, and reconciliation.

The work of the Ride is that of connecting with students and community members to understand local needs at a deep and specific level, crafting workshops and giving trainings, connecting with media to share the story of social change through nonviolence and soulful activism, and partnering with students and local activists to address campus policies and practices, build solidarity across difference, and create long term game plans for bringing more love and justice into the places we commit to.

You can watch an Equality Ride Redux video here from the 2006 and 2007 Equality Rides. The major differences are that we engage with police far less (usually not at all), get on campus far more, and have opened up participation to all ages.

The heart of the Equality Ride is the never-before kind of conversation that connects people who have historically been divided by bi/trans/homophobia, racism, and classism.

More About the Equality Ride, Past & Future

This ongoing project started in 2005 when there were fewer than 10 active and out LGBTQ student groups in the country.  Since then, Soulforce has visited 101 schools and contributed to 17 school policy changes and the growth of over 30 student and alumni groups.  In this time, we led 6 buses on cross-country tours to host workshops, classroom visits, meetings with administrators, and direct action where necessary at colleges, universities, and seminaries.

Then and now, we continue to focus on schools where campus policy or culture, largely driven by religion, is in opposition to LGBTQ people.

The Soulforce Equality Ride is now at an inflection point.  As many student and alumni groups have sprung up, our role is naturally changing into a solidarity and co-worker position.  The needs we hear students express are More resources and training! More networking with students at other schools! More time to put in place sustainable structures!

We hear you. Based on your feedback, we are debuting the Next Generation Equality Ride.

Shift #1: Introducing the Equality Ride House and the Soulforce Crew

The Equality Ride is utilizing regional leadership teams called “Crews” comprised of students, alumni, and community activists to become the Riders themselves. As much as possible, we want the people who live, work and study in the conservative sectors we visit to be in charge of the programming. These localized team efforts that allow for participants to be as public or as “behind the scenes” as they want to be. Crews will live and/or work in Equality Ride House that serve as the central organizing hub for all the volunteers working on this project together.

Shift #2: Introducing an Intersectional Approach

The content of our training and conversations on and off campus is growing to reflect the challenges that students and community members face that include homophobia, transphobia, racism and other forms of injustice. We are excited about broad cultural shifts grounded in the understanding that religious discrimination is a took of many oppression and links our issues and identities.

This approach will be reflected in the diversity of leadership, volunteers, staff, workshops, and aims of the Crews on and off campus. We recognize that the conversation about culture and policy on campus is related to off campus realities that impact many marginalized groups.

Given that…

….Less than 2% of LGBTQ funding goes to communities of color

…Many of the schools we visit were birthed of out a reaction to desegregation in education

…The vast majority of the boards of trustees, schools presidents, and leaders of the Religious Right are white men for reasons not distinct from their anti-LGBTQ beliefs

Soulforce is dedicated to putting forth an appropriate and converse challenge to this reality by seeking and supporting a majority people of color leadership in Equality Ride organizing positions and staff.  We want racial diversity within our programs and invite all who, like us, are dismayed and fired up about changing the reality of race, particularly within fundamentalist settings, to apply.

We believe it bears being upfront about how we understand the nature of what we are challenging and the steps we are taking to resist those beliefs and practices in form, content, leadership, and process.

Shift #3: Introducing Longer Term Engagement

Participants in the Equality Ride work will all receive training, resources, partnership, and work retreats to prepare and implement their strategic plans on and off campus. Instead of working with a school for 3 or 5 days, we can now be present and active for months. The localized nature of the Equality Ride House lends itself to follow up and lasting activist relationships. To bolster that, we will provide seed grants, alumni support, and ongoing leadership development opportunities like travel stipends and conferences.

 

 

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