Equality Ride and Beyond
Today I was thinking about the profound affect Soulforce has had on my life. What if the Equality Ride hadn’t come to Calvin College in 2007? The impact of the 33 Riders who came to my school is so much bigger then this article I found in the Chimes would lead anyone to believe. In some ways, I think I’m an incredibly different person because of this. I found my voice. I started speaking up about queer issues. I was inspired by the Riders boldness and courage to do what I had always been afraid to do. Then I met a seven Calvin students who wanted to make things better at Calvin. Somewhere between the Riders and my new friends at Calvin I finally made sense of myself. I realized I am queer. It turns out, straight women do not find women attractive (as in date worthy) in addition to finding men attractive. I started getting involved with activism and there was an interesting switch in the straight to queer friend ratio. I now have some of my best friends in the world because of the Equality Ride coming to Calvin. The summer after my final year at Calvin, I was accepted into Q Camp with Soulforce. I learned a ton about intersectional social justice, it changed my frame work for doing justice. I also met my amazing woman at Q Camp and now we’re dating and I’m in love and ended up here in Kansas City. Aside from Yantezia, I’m also grateful for the other Q Campers who are amazing activist that I can go to for friendship and activism advice.
I knew right away after the bus pulled away from Calvin that I had to go on the Equality Ride. I wasn’t sure if I would get accepted but I really wanted to go. Q Camp only made me more aware of that desire to go. I applied for the 2010 Equality Ride and was accepted!!! The 2010 Ride changed me in ways I’m still trying to figure out.
Here in Kansas City, I’m working with Equal. It’s super sweet because I get to work with Wick, a 2007 Equality Rider, Yantezia and another cool activist, Yahaira. We’re training/mentoring queer youth to learn about intersectional justice, direct action and other campaign work. I’m really excited to take on this leadership roll and help empower young queer activists, grow as a leader, gain friendships. Although I get homesick sometimes, I’m really happy where I’ve ended up. I’m making really cool new friends. I’m enjoying every minute I get with Yantezia. I am happy and confident as Christian queer woman. I am happy to be growing as an activist. Sometimes I wonder who is going through changes like this because of the 2010 Equality Ride and what changes will happen long term and short term because of me? I hope that more people are activist and growing comfortable in there skin and of course, I hope schools change polices to do better but I think more realistically, change happens with individuals. Who knows. What I know for sure is I thank God often for the 2007 Equality Ride and how it changed me.
Me with two 2007 riders
Most of the 2010 Equality Riders