The last time I blogged for the interwebs, the Equality Ride had just finished its first stop at Valley Forge Christian College, several weeks later and now I am here to talk about our stop at Southwest Baptist University (SBU). The day was interesting starting off with a little gathering with our hosts in a conference room where we had a little chat and told them exactly why we were here: 1) Their policy clearly discriminates against the LGBTQ and allied students/faculty on the campus 2) To spread love and affirmation to said persons 3) to engage in true dialogue to foster change and provide safe spaces for those who identify to being LGBTQ and allies.
Next was chapel, which left quite a few riders in emotional turmoil as the topic was about missionary work and the speaker seemed ignorant about what he was saying and just condemning people to hell. I know I felt the spirit move me out of the chapel quickly, just get away from the rhetoric spewing out of that man’s mouth. After the chapel, a few of our Riders, particularly Isaiah and Asher, went and conversed with the speaker about their feelings and how offensive they found this chapel service. I hope the man actually took the words spoken seriously and will try a different approach to things in the future.
Skipping ahead, the awkward conversation about racism is blooming at SBU, a group of riders, students, and faculty members were a part of a panel that talked about what Soulforce was and the topic of LGBTQ persons on campus. One of the faculty members was just plain combative and could not even see a LGBTQ person as an actual human being. I give kudos to all the Riders that dealt with that woman because she was just plain rude!
With emotions still high, and many of our Riders experiencing spiritual violence, the Dean of Students, with permission, got on the bus to “talk” to us about how we experienced the day. If “talking” to us, was a rant about how we betrayed his trust by holding a vigil later that day, then yeah, we had some “great” dialogue. Several of the riders, challenged the administrator to actually listen to what we felt, and he did.
After this, the Equality Riders set up camp right outside the campus and some ate food from the awesome PFLAG parents, talked to community members and students, or simply just sang songs. It felt like a nice, sweet closing after the tumultuous and emotionally exhausting day defending our humanity and dealing with the rampant issues of racism on SBU’s campus.