Looking back on our last stop, it just doesn’t seem real to me. We all walked onto campus together, which was an Equality Ride first. I stayed back a little bit to see everyone walk on. It was humbling and amazing that almost eighty people felt so compelled to walk onto campus for equality at the same time. It was truly a beautiful sight.
The Equality Ride has left me with so many memories–hard memories that kept me focused throughout the Ride, moments that aren’t so easy to look back on with a smile–and beautiful memories. There is beauty in watching my fellow Riders lay out shawls in the colors of the pride flag. There is beauty in their act of giving up autonomy in being arrested for that. There is beauty in thirty people gathered around a Rider for discussion. Even though there have been many hard moments, for me the Ride was filled with beauty.
We went around in a circle before the East Bus rejoined us with a list of questions that we could choose to answer, or not answer as we felt led to do. One question I had fun answering was this: “What moment will you take with you into senility?” My answer was Rebecca Buck’s shopping bags, and our bus driver Travis’s random bursts into song while we were all sleeping. His singing is something that always lightened my heart when things got too serious.
Another question was this: “What have you learned about yourself?” I learned so many things about myself on the Ride, I couldn’t really begin to list all of them, but the most important thing I learned about myself is that I have a great capacity to be serious, to be intense, and that I can do a lot of good things with that.
I also learned that I am truly a sixteen-year-old boy at heart (bio-chemically and spiritually). I’m still really awkward around people, and enjoy dinosaurs. I made “Kourt Forts” by draping a blanket over the seats on the bus to create a tent. I did dinosaur dances, and I always jumped at the first mention of food.
Even though I am a sixteen-year-old boy, I know that I have a big space in my heart to learn about love in a way that many people never get to experience. I get to take the lessons of non-violence that I have learned on the Equality Ride and put them into practice in my life toward my family, friends, and people I have yet to meet.
To sum up, I am thankful for the opportunity the Equality Ride afforded me, and I will forever be in its debt. Would I do it again? In a heartbeat. There’s so much work to be done.