Adventist Equality Rider at Oakwood
The morning started off a lot like any other morning on the Equality Ride…early. The terrain shifted from one beautiful panoramic masterpiece to another. We ascended upon Huntsville Alabama a quaint mid size town about an hour and a half away from Birmingham nestled in a cute valley. I could tell from the energy of this town that this stop was going to be very different from the stops we had previously. Reasons being:
- Oakwood University is a Seventh Day Adventist denomination school, and I grew up SDA.
- This was also the first historically black college we had been to on this years ride.
It had a feeling that the town itself not only the school was on the cusp of something really huge happening. We had church at the Spirit of the cross church that Sunday and we ironed out the final details of the stop the next day.
The day of our visit finally came and we were allowed at an off campus educational site. Faculty and the Student Government Association greeted us, as well as some theology majors. We had a time for dialogue and time for food. The schedule was pretty restricted as to limit conversations with people. People shared their stories and I came out as a gay Adventist. I think it really hit home for people in the room from Oakwood because I do not think they were privy to the fact that I grew up in, and still have a current membership with, the Adventist church.
During lunch we had great conversations with the SGA and other faculty members we were allowed to talk to. However, we had planned a rally on the property line of the school because we did not show up to talk to selected students but to anyone who wanted to talk to us. We had a steady stream of people who wanted to talk to us and we were steeped in dialogue. It was so moving to witness and participate in some of the conversations we had. I think the day as a whole was a huge success and we shattered a lot of the misinformation that was dispelled about us and our visit to the students beforehand.
I learned so much from that stop and it was my first time outting myself to a room full of Adventists that I am gay and that I am Adventist and that I am not suffering. I have hope that the students on campus learned just as much from us as I learned from them.