Just today, I “met” (as in, talked to him online) Zach of The Gayly News. Zach had some pretty strong feelings on how he thought the Soulforce Equality Ride had been ignored by the blogosphere this year:
A lot of the Gay blogosphere has ignored or ,at the very least, forgotten about the Soulforce Equality Riders. Mainly because this year there are two buses heading in seperate directions and thats a lot of queers to keep up with, even for us.
Zach went on, however, to make some good points and, I have to say, he “gets it;” as in, he gets the reason why we have done what we have during the past two months:
Because who doesn’t love a little arresting music? Seriously though, I’m sure the riders got asked this all the time, but, why? Why try to talk to people who probably don’t want to hear what you have to say? Well it turns out, not everyone is so homo-hatin:
Prior to arrest, the Equality Riders spent two-and-a-half hours in silent vigil outside the campus gates. Bethany Lutheran students stopped by to shake hands, thank the Riders for being there, and ask questions. “I support what you are doing 100%,” said one Bethany Lutheran senior. An MSU student reiterated that support and added that, coming from a school that welcomed him as a gay man, he felt that it was especially important to stand in solidarity with those who were not welcomed in the same way.
Following the arrest, as many as fifty Bethany Lutheran students joined the Riders for conversations lasting up to two hours.
I guess those conversations plant the seed in which real change can begin to grow. Maybe it’s easy for me to cringe at being arrested as I sit behind my keyboard and type away, but I really do admire these guys/gals/trans for making a stand on the turf of people who teach hate.
I have to thank Zach for his thoughts and his interest in the great undertaking of which I was a part during March and April.
I also have to, however, say thanks to so many people… including folks in the blogosphere. I haven’t really been under the impression that we were “ignored,” although I don’t doubt that this year’s Ride was much, much more difficult to keep up with because, as Zach pointed out, we did have two different routes and LOTS of activity going on all across the country at the same time.
A quick search on Technorati.com for our Soulforce blog (soulforce.org/blogs/), shows links from at least 40 blogs and a search for “Equality Ride” shows at least 1,200 different links. Thanks to all those in the blogosphere and elsewhere who kept up with our journeys, thought of us, kept us in your prayers and helped to keep awareness up while we were on the buses.
My many thanks would not be complete without thanking all those individuals everywhere who supported us financially. Obviously, this journey was an expensive one: Two buses traveling across the country (and the needed gas to fuel them up), the food to fuel our bodies, the hotels to give us rest and so, so much more.
A HUGE amount of thanks goes out to all those folks, friends and family who sponsored me individually:
- Kelly Margolis and Jacob Dagger, Chapel Hill, NC
- Sportin’ Life, Boston, MA
- kevinbgoode, Carbondale, IL
- Heidi & Alison, Austin, TX
- Dick & Dick, Cathedral City, Ca
- Alan down in Florida, Delray Beach, FL
- Joshua D. Henson, Greensboro, North Carolina
- Sam B., Chapel Hill, NC
- Jerry Meek, Raleigh, NC
- Pam, Durham, NC
- Regan DuCasse, North Hollywood, CA
- Cris Elkins, Greensboro, NC
- Brandon Greeson, Hickory, NC
- Gary Palmer, Greensboro, NC
- Ricky Barnes, Seaboard, NC
- Mike Stevens, Fredericksburg, virginia
- Frank and Gary, Winston-Salem, NC
- Charles Hornaday, Mebane, NC
- Mark, Madison, WI
- Ken B., Dobson, NC
- Rick Hunter, Winston-Salem, NC
- Steve McIntyre & Chuck Phelan, Los Angeles, CA
- Rachel Powell, Shreveport, LA
- Sheila Simpson, Albemarle, North Carolina
- David & Sarah Catron, Winston-Salem, NC
- Jeff Schoner, Seattle, WA
- Cris Rivera, Durham, NC
- Christopher Cannon, Greensboro, NC
- J.T. Sands, Winston-Salem, NC
- Cecelia M. Thompson, Greensboro, NC
- J. Allen Broach, Greensboro, NC
- Edwin Farthing, Raleigh, NC
- Richard Smith, Kernersville, NC
- Kathleen McGirty, Greensboro, NC
- PFLAG Madison, Madison, WI
- James White, Madison, WI
- Ruth Finley, Lewisville, NC
- Priscilla Wallace Fender, Winston-Salem, NC
- Joe Tynan, Rockaway Park, NY
- Alan K. Bruce, Washington, DC
- Roger Sharpe, Harmony, NC
- Greg & Bryan Doornbos-Ross, Caledonia, MI
- Ryan Boshoven, Grand Rapids, MI
- Janet Joyner, Winston-Salem, NC
- Kevin Jennings, New York City, NY
Also… a huge thanks goes out to Roch and all the other folks at Greensboro101.com and the Greensboro blogosphere. Many of them kept up with my journeys across the country and Roch kept up with the journey all through March and April, linking various posts from the blog to Greensboro101.com.
I also want to thank all my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ all across the nation and world, but especially my church family at Wake Forest Baptist Church, Winston-Salem, NC, including the Reverend Dr. Richard Groves and the Reverend Susan Parker and Wendy Scott, as well as the members of the Unitarian-Universalist Fellowship of Winston-Salem, including the Reverend & Mrs. Charlie Davis.
I’d also like to thank those individuals who made possible our Eastbound stop at The University of the Cumberlands in Williamsburg, KY; the stop I was in charge of planning. Without these folks, the stop wouldn’t have happened: Jordan Palmer, Wes Wright and Jason Johnson.
There is absolutely no way for me to thank all those people who have helped me and supported me in this journey. For all those not named individually, I apologize, but please know that I thank you immensely for all the support, thoughts and prayers.
There is one more thanks, however, which cannot go ignored: Thank you to my family for all their love, concern, prayer and support as I cris-crossed the Eastern seaboard: Mom, Larry, Johnathon, Joshua, Adam, Thomas, Cara, Zachary, Grandpa, Memaw and all my aunts, uncles and cousins. I love you all SO, SO much!
I can’t wait to get back to the Triad and see all of you. Keep me in your thoughts as I wrap things up here in Minneapolis and board my plane for home on Tuesday!