Friday, April 20, 2007

NYC and US Congress Honor Equality Riders

Here's good news from

Soulforce Equality Ride Honored in U.S. House of Representatives

The 2007 Soulforce Equality Ride has been honored by the House of Representatives and written into the congressional record. On Monday, April 16, Rep. Jerrold L. Nadler of New York addressed a tribute to the Equality Ride and its Riders to the Speaker of the House, Rep. Nancy Pelosi.

"Madam Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to an extraordinary group of young adults -- The Equality Riders -- who have dedicated 2 months of their lives, traveling thousands of miles, visiting 32 colleges and universities around the country and talking to countless students, faculty members and staff in pursuit of social justice.

The spirit of The Equality Ride was born out of the recognition that homophobia is globally pervasive and that no country, state, city, community or school escapes its reach. The Equality Ride offers a unique opportunity for student activists to dedicate their time and energy in the pursuit of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered equality through the practice of nonviolent resistance and educational campaigns.

I embrace the spirit of The Equality Ride and these leaders in the fight for social justice. The participants of the Equality Ride as well as its supporters have changed numerous lives, raised awareness and challenged notions regarding homosexuality through both on and off campus activities.
While conducting their work on the various campuses, riders confront some of their harshest critics and engage in structured dialogue with the academic community through classroom presentations, panel discussions, school-wide forums and film screenings as well as informal interactions. Outside of the college and university campuses, communities have welcomed the riders to share in worship, potlucks, fundraisers and meetings.

I applaud these riders and their supporters who have tirelessly waged a campaign of truth based on the nonviolent practices of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi to end the cycle of fear and misunderstanding that causes this vicious form of prejudice. As the Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, it is my great honor to pay tribute to these visionary young people and congratulate them on their courage, determination and dedication."

New York City Issues Proclamation Recognizing the 2007 Soulforce Equality Ride

The City Council of New York honored the Equality Riders on Saturday, April 14, with an official proclamation.

Whereas: The Council of the City of New York is pleased and proud to honor Soulforce on the occasion of its 2nd Annual Equality Ride; and

Whereas: It is the tradition and custom of the New York City Council to honor those individuals and organizations that have enriched us with their contributions, and today we are delighted to recognize the brave participants of the Soulforce Equality Ride for their tireless devotion to the fight against homophobia; and

Whereas: The purpose of the Soulforce Equality Ride is to travel to various religious colleges and engage the students, faculty and administrators in a conversation about the damaging effects of homophobic doctrine; and
Whereas: We proudly celebrate the 50 young adults who have dedicated two months of their lives, traveled thousands of miles, and visited a total of 32 colleges and universities around the country in the pursuit of social justice as it pertains to freedom for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people from religious and political oppression; and

Whereas: The participants of the Soulforce Equality Ride will pursue their goal through the practice of relentless nonviolent resistance; and

Whereas: Homophobia is globally pervasive and no country state, city, community or school escapes its reach. We recognize the damaging effects of homophobic doctrine - the false notions that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender identities are sick and sinful - and we applaud these participants and their supporters who have waged a campaign of truth in the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi; and

Whereas: We embrace the spirit of the Soulforce Equality Ride and its empowered participants, who have changed countless lives, created an environment of understanding, and liberated the oppressed; and

Whereas: It is with profound gratitude that we recognize the participants of the Soulforce Equality Ride for all they have done on behalf of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people throughout our nation. Their passionate advocacy is instructive and they are worthy of the esteem of all New Yorkers; now, therefore

Be it known: That the Council of the City of New York honors Soulforce and recognizes the exceptional service of the 2007 Equality Ride participants.
Signed this 14th day of April in the year Two Thousand and Seven

Christine C. Quinn, Speaker - For the Entire Council
Rosie Mendez, Council Member 2nd District, Manhattan

Help the Riders reach their sponsorship goals during this final week of their journey

From the news above and the inspiring stories over the past six weeks, the 2007 Equality Ride has been a huge success. Yet as we know, the road to LGBT equality is not an easy one. Activist work on this scale comes with real expenses.
To help pull together the necessary funds to cover the Equality Ride, each of the 52 Riders set a goal of raising $3,500. The Riders have been out there on the front lines since early March and they continue to work hard, with seven more schools to visit before coming home. During this final week, can you help those who are still working to reach their sponsorship goal?

To view the Riders who need additional supporters to reach their goal click here.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Seattle Declares Equality Ride Day


I've been following the two bus tours of the 50 young people who are travelling our nation and asking for audiences at schools that discriminate against gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people. At times there has been good conversation. Far too often there have been arrests.
And then this... Seattle declares April 11 as Equality Ride Day. And our state legislature just approved domestic partner benefits. What a feeling of sunshine!!! Here's the Soulforce announcement and the text of the proclamation for all of us to celebrate. Go riders, go!

Seattle Proclaims April 11 as Equality Ride 2007 Day
City Abhors Discrimination, Prejudice and Oppression Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

After successful stops at three West coast Christian colleges, Equality Riders arrived in Seattle this week to visit two local schools that discriminate against LGBT students. Yesterday, Equality Riders teamed up with Equal Rights Washington, statewide advocacy organizations, and Q Center at the University of Washington, to address marriage equality with community members in Gasworks Park. Today the Equality Ride will engage with both Northwest University and Seattle Pacific University in a full day of programming, which includes discussion panels, classroom visits, presentations, communal meals and worship.

In honor of the Equality Riders' visit to Seattle, the City Council has proclaimed Wednesday, April 11, 2007, to be "Equality Ride Day" in the City of Seattle.

A PROCLAMATION recognizing Equality Ride 2007 in Seattle

WHEREAS, the City of Seattle is a welcoming city to diversity, including those who identify as Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender;

WHEREAS, the City of Seattle abhors discrimination, prejudice and oppression based on sexual orientation and gender identity, among other protected classes under city, state and federal statutes;

WHEREAS, fifty young adults on two buses traveling across the nation are using nonviolent means to raise awareness about the discrimination, prejudice and oppression Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender people may face;

WHEREAS, the City of Seattle recognizes the historical significance of bus tours and their ability to create conversation about difficult issues and create reflection within a community;

WHEREAS, the West Coast bus tour of the Soulforce Equality Ride 2007 will share their message of inclusion and tolerance within the boundaries of the City of Seattle;

WHEREAS, some of our city's most respected organizations and businesses, such as Multifaith Works, Equal Rights Washington and the Seattle Gay News are hosting the West Coast bus tour here in Seattle;

WHEREAS, Soulforce, the sponsor of Equality Ride 2007, is a non-profit social justice organization made up of many faith traditions, including those with no belief in a deity; NOW,

Wednesday, April 11, 2007 shall be "Equality Ride 2007 Day" in the City of Seattle.
Adopted by the City Council the 11th day of April, 2007, and signed by us in authentication of its adoption this 11th day of April, 2007.

Council President Nick Licata
Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, Sponsor
Councilmember Sally J. Clark, Sponsor
Councilmember Richard Conlin
Councilmember David J. Della
Councilmember Jan Drago
Councilmember Jean Godden
Councilmember Richard J. McIver
Councilmember Peter Steinbrueck

To view a copy of the official proclaimation go to

To help fund the final two weeks of the 2007 Soulforce Equality Ride click here.

The goal of Soulforce is freedom for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people from religious and political oppression through the practice of relentless nonviolent resistance.
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