Washington, D.C. (PRWEB) March 8, 2006
Thirty-five young adults will begin a national journey for gay rights outside the offices of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) this Thursday, March 9. Over the next 51 days, Equality Riders will travel by bus across the country to confront schools that ban the enrollment of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students. “We must cut off the suffering at its source. The source is religion-based oppression, and it has taken place for centuries,” says Jacob Reitan, Founder and Co-Director of the Soulforce Equality Ride.
The CCCU, headed by President Bob Andringa, represents fifteen of the eighteen schools on the Equality Ride route. Andringa himself approached Jacob Reitan and Rev. Dr. Mel White, Founder and President of Soulforce, to facilitate communication between the activists and the schools. “We share some hopes even though neither I nor our presidents are going to embrace some of your ultimate goals,” Andringa said. “But we can agree that the ride should advance education, civil dialogue, learning to respect differences, and making safe places for students exploring their own sexual identities.”
Over the past year, Andringa has encouraged CCCU schools to work with the Soulforce Equality Ride to schedule productive days of presentations and discussion. On that point, the riders have succeeded at a majority of schools on the route. Andringa and several of his colleagues at the CCCU will meet with the riders during the Soulforce Equality Ride training from 2-4pm on March 7 at Luther Place Memorial Church. The guests will speak about the character of CCCU schools and talk informally with Equality Riders.
Inspired by the Freedom Rides of the 1950s and 60s, the Soulforce Equality Ride seeks to dialogue with students and administrations of colleges regarding the discrimination of the anti-gay enrollment policies. “We share the goal of creating physically safe places for students,” states Haven Herrin, Co-Director of the Soulforce Equality Ride. “However we also seek theologically and educationally safe environments. Higher education should not include discrimination of any kind. The cost of a college education should never be at the peril of a student’s sense of personal worth.”
Through the practice of dialogue and non-violence, Soulforce, the sponsoring organization of the Equality Ride, exists to end homophobia at its source; freeing gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people from political and religious oppression.
The Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) is an international higher education association of intentionally Christian colleges and universities. Founded in 1976, the Council exists to advance the cause of Christ-centered higher education and to help member institutions transform lives by relating scholarship and service to biblical truth.
Times and locations:
March 9, 10 a.m. - Soulforce Equality Ride embarks on national tour outside the Council for Christian and Universities National office located at 321 Eighth Street, NE, Washington, DC
Contacts: Jacob Reitan, Equality Ride Co-Director, 952-212-8311
Haven Herrin, Equality Ride Co-Director, 469-867-5725
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