Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Media Update

Hey Friends, below is the e-mail from Soulforce about the Equality Ride. I thought I'd share it here.

Climb on Board
Gearing up for the Ride!

Last week, an inspiring group of 21 young justice-seekers descended upon Austin, Texas, to train for a journey. They are this year’s Equality Riders, and they have just spent 8 days preparing for the work ahead of them.

Equality Ride Training a success!

The 2010 Equality Ride’s first training was successful by all measures! The week was jam-packed. The group participated in―and some chose to lead―workshops on everything from planning a direct action, systems of oppression, transgender identities, anti-racism and anti-racist organizing, scriptural analysis, stop-planning, nonviolence, disability and ableism, working with the media, and more.

They sharply brainstormed innovative ways to work with students, administrators, and community members towards sustainable, progressive, and significant change this spring and beyond.

Though the week was busy with learning, there was also time for Riders to build a cohesive and supportive group. Tight bonds were formed that will sustain them during their two months on the road.

The 2010 Team

Hailing from across the country, and one from Cyprus, the 2010 team brings a multitude of unique experiences and backgrounds, bound by a common desire to make campuses and communities safe, welcoming and affirming for people of all identities. You can meet the Riders here:

During training, the Riders signed up for their roles as stop-planners, each with the responsibility of coordinating one of the 17 locations on our itinerary. Back at home now, they are eagerly making preparations for the road ahead.

The Route

We are stopping at 16 campuses in the Northeast, South, and Midwest, all with policies that are discriminatory to LGBTQ students. Many of the schools, while recognizing that there are places where we do not agree, have extended their welcome to us. We are hopeful that this spring will offer many opportunities to share ourselves and our stories with students, faculty, and administrators. You can view the full route here.

We are placing a special focus on community work this year, and are hoping to engage not just with the campuses we visit, but with the communities they live in. This means partnering with communities in volunteer work, hosting activism/organizing forums, linking students with community members, and offering our support for the justice work that is already happening in the places we are visiting.

Help us Blaze a Trail for Justice

The Riders will have one more opportunity to train at the end of February, and will board the bus on March 4th. But they need your support! We would like to be greeted by affirming community members along the way. If you or a friend live in one of the areas along our route, and might be interested in volunteering with us, hosting an event, participating in a potluck, or anything else, please get in touch with the Rider coordinating that stop, or one of the Ride’s co-directors soon. Being in touch with supportive community members is vital to planning a successful Equality Ride stop!

Each Rider, in addition to planning their community and school stop for the Ride, is working really hard to meet their $3,500 fundraising goal. The Rider donations are a vital part of the overall funding for the Ride. If every Rider meets their goal, we’ll raise nearly half of the budget. Were it not for the generosity of Soulforce supporters in 2008, the Ride literally would not have happened. If you’d like to be a part of the 2010 Equality Ride as a sponsor, you can sponsor a Rider directly through their pages and help them make the Equality Ride a success this spring!

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