Reflections from a CCU Student
By Equality Ride Guest Blogger Bree Adams
My name is Bree Adams. I am 19 years old, and my preferred gender pronouns are she, her and hers. I am a freshman at Colorado Christian University, where, on April 17th, the Soulforce Equality Riders came and visited.
I found out about the Soulforce Equality Riders coming to CCU through an email explaining why my administration would not be letting them onto campus. I was appalled at the lack of compassion that was being displayed and knew someone would have to welcome them and show the love and compassion that my home church taught me to display to everyone. I thought of how some of my LGBTQ friends are “turned off” by the church, and as I was reading the emails sent out to my student body, I realized why.
I sent an email to the Soulforce Equality Riders at the beginning of April and I was contacted by Equality Rider Ryan Barnette within a few hours. I agreed to meet with him the night before to show him around the boundaries of campus, and I became the CCU campus ally. I ended up meeting two Equality Riders, Ryan and Cole, on the side of the road the evening before they came to my university; the moment I met them, I knew the following day was going to be life changing.
The day the Equality Riders were at CCU was emotionally exhausting. I don’t think I’ve ever cried more in my entire life. I was almost too intimidated to cross the boundary myself to join my Soulforce siblings because there were three faculty members and the campus police officer all lined up on one side of the entrance to make sure conversations on both sides remained respectful. Throughout the day, people drove by and yelled “fag” out the windows of their cars – some of them I recognized from campus. As I was handing out information to students leaving CCU, I was told by a campus police officer that, because I was not representing CCU but Soulforce, I was asked to remain outside of the campus boundaries. I was criticized for listening to stories, for being open-minded, for showing compassion towards 17 beautiful individuals, and for trying to raise awareness.
Around 1 o’clock, I watched as five of the bravest people I’ve ever met walked onto campus, Bibles in their hands, and asked to engage in a Bible Study with students. I stood by and watched as, one by one, they were handcuffed and taken away. It was a horrifying, and yet beautiful moment. After watching this happen, a few of my peers crossed the boundary and engaged in conversations, and a few even came to the Village Roaster to continue conversations.
Later that evening, as I sat on the big “gay” bus on the way to community events, Equality Rider Bethany explained to me that everybody has a love bank. When you’re welcomed and loved as you are, your love bank fills up, and as you’re around unwelcoming and places that tear you down, your love bank empties. The day the Soulforce Riders came to CCU, my love bank was filled by them – overflowing if that’s even possible. We loved each other where we were and for who we were. We acted as the church should act.
Since they have left my campus, I have been approached by faculty members who have questioned my sexuality. My name has been passed around by the people who are leaders at this school. I’m not announcing this to be rude or disrespectful in anyways towards my university, but I hope that someone will see it, and things will change.
I don’t need paper plates to represent Soulforce; once I began conversations with them I became “one of them” – I became someone who wants acceptance and would like the close-mindedness to end. I am Straight, I am a Christian, and the Equality Riders of 2012 changed my life because I let them.