One of my favorite GLBT activist groups, Soulforce, counters religion-based homophobia through nonviolent activism in the tradition of Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Their annual Equality Ride takes GLBT youth and straight allies on a bus tour of U.S. colleges whose official policies include discrimination against non-heterosexuals. The Riders initiate dialogue with school administrators and offer support to sexual minorities on campus. Since the first ride in 2006, several Christian schools (including Mormon heavy-hitter Brigham Young U.) have softened their anti-gay policies, and Gay-Straight Alliances have formed on a number of campuses.
Soulforce, a nonprofit, pays for all the expenses of the Equality Riders. Besides food, lodging, and transportation, the program includes training in nonviolent activism, so that the young people can remain peaceful and spiritually safe when confronted with hate speech during their silent vigils and sit-ins. The Riders raise money for their work through sponsorship pages on the Soulforce website.
This year, those of us who are too old to get on the bus can still be part of this courageous campaign as a Virtual Equality Rider. The sponsorship idea is the same, and the money goes to the general expenses of the ride.
Please visit my page and make a contribution! If I raise $1,000 by March 2012, they’ll put my name on the bus.