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Endeavoring to define myself outside of a "job title." I'm a nomad of sorts who fell in love with technology, activism, and helping others. I run a web & media consulting firm, have a blog specifically for activists & non-profits, and travel often. I love talking about theology, politics, and social change. I love doing something about it even more. I also like to be a well-rounded and fully present person. That's why I write here. Connect with me on twitter

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Equality Ride Update

A press release went out this morning recapping what has happened at the 24 schools that the west bus and east bus visited during March and April. Here are some excerpts:

Negotiations with prospective schools began last October. Some schools welcomed the Riders' diverse perspectives, some set narrow limitations on the Riders' campus access, and others went so far as to ban them from campus.

In the end, the Riders suffered more than 100 trespassing arrests in order to bring a message of hope and justice to every school on both routes.

But while arrests provide one indicator of the Riders' commitment, the Ride's lasting impact at the schools can be measured in other ways:

  • Six of the schools on this year's route have new gay-straight alliances.
  • An unofficial LGBT support group at Pepperdine University has been granted a new hearing on achieving official group status.
  • At Baylor University, students have started a petition asking the institution to review its policy on "homosexual behavior."
  • At University of Notre Dame, the gay and lesbian alumni network has called for a boycott on giving to their alma mater.
  • Seattle and New York City proclaimed April 11 and April 14, respectively, as the official Soulforce Equality Ride 2007 Day.
  • Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, changed its policy during the course of the Equality Ride. The revised policy clarifies that the university will respond to "homosexual behavior rather than to feelings or orientation." The previous policy had proscribed "homosexual behavior, whether implicit or explicit."
Impacts on individual hearts and minds will continue to develop long after the Equality Riders have returned home. Student newspapers continue to cover students who have come out in the wake of the Equality Ride. And, in cities across America, hundreds of people have now engaged in conversations about sexuality and faith because their churches, student groups, and equality organizations joined Riders for meals, community service, and public presentations.

At the Riders' "Welcome Home" service in Mankato, Minnesota, the mother of a straight student from Bethany Lutheran College approached Herrin. "As she cried, she told me that she was so disappointed in how they responded by arresting 10 Equality Riders. Her son came home from school that day to tell her he was transferring because he was so disgusted."

"As long as these schools, like Bethany Lutheran, continue to discriminate, they will have to face the consequences. Financially, spiritually and socially, they cannot turn away from the suffering they create," affirmed Herrin.

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