Equality Ride in N.C.: Chapel Hill

The Soulforce Equality Ride is in North Carolina March 17-19. While in the state, the group of 25 young activists will visit Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest and Campbell University in Buies Creek. Join us here at the qnotes blog each day for personal commentary on their activities and actions at the two schools from Rider Sabrina Diz.

The Equality Ride visited UNC-Chapel Hill today. We met up at the LGBTQ Resource Center on campus, met with supporters, and also showed a screening of “Equality U,” a documentary of the first Equality Ride in 2006. It is our hope that if students and community members are aware of our efforts since they are right around the corner from the schools we visited, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and Campbell University, they would be willing to help. Indeed, many UNC students signed up to be a part of the winds of change that are blowing through these other school!

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As I sat with my fellow Riders at the resource center playing games and chatting with UNC students it struck me that I felt safe. I felt sure and at ease and safe. My fellow Riders and the students from UNC all chatted and spoke out loud words like “queer” and “gender” and “lesbian” without worrying about a backlash or consequences or losing their community. It was the first time that I was on a school campus and felt almost at home and it really struck me that this was how all students could feel everywhere, without toppling the faith or moral structure of the school. These thoughts sat heavy on my chest because I know that it will be a long time before the sense of safety UNC students felt is experienced by students everywhere.

Tomorrow we travel to Daytona, Fla. to attempt to enter an entire community where homophobia persists. As someone who is originally from Miami, it never occurred to me that Daytona would be an unwelcoming town. However, it has been very difficult to have people even respond to our letters! So our big, queer bus is on its way out of the Bible Belt for a little bit, but not yet out of the woods!

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Be sure to follow us at soulforce.org or write to me at Sabrina_Diz@equalityride.com.

About Sabrina Diz
As a youth, Sabrina, 28, yearned for a faith community. As she also began her coming out process at the same time, she found searching for a faith home difficult. That is, until she found Metropolitan Community Churches. Years later, the Frederick, Md., native is taking her faith journey on the road to visit other LGBT Christians, reach out to those in need of support and speak to those who would make outcasts of her LGBT brothers and sisters. She says, “There was no way I could pass up an opportunity to engage in dialogue with people who might not believe in God’s superfluous love…or who might ignore others that, like I did, may feel isolated, deserted, or forgotten.”

About the Equality Ride
The Equality Ride is now in its fourth year and on the road in pursuit of justice for transgender, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and queer people through engagement and action. This year’s ride will stop at 16 campuses in the Northeast, South, and Midwest — all with policies that are discriminatory to LGBTQ students. The ride in 2010 places a special focus on community work and will engage with campuses and their surrounding communities. We will partner in volunteer work, host organizing forums, link students with community members, and support existing justice work.

Learn more about Soulforce and the Equality Ride…

Ed. Note — Editor Matt Comer was a participant on the 2007 Equality Ride.

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