|The Soulforce Equality Ride is a two month social justice bus tour that confronts political and spiritual oppression of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) people. The ride began in 2006 and has visited hundreds of cities, colleges, universities, and other institutions. The 2012 ride will be the fifth tour. This year a large emphasis is being placed on intersectional justice (or the desire to practice social justice in a way that ends all oppression against all people) and community involvement. The participants of the Equality Ride are provided top notch training, transportation, housing, and food throughout the tour. Support from Hit the Road campaign virtual rider pages like this one helps to make the Soulforce Equality Ride possible. Visit www.equalityride.com to learn more or set up your own virtual rider page! Apply to Hit The Road here!|
Cindi Love, Soulforce
Soulforce is a national non-profit that works nonviolently to end the religious and political oppression of LGBTQ people. While we are not ourselves a faith-based organization, we lead from the understanding that oppressive religious beliefs, civil rights abuses and anti-feminist attitudes that oppress LGBTQ people are interrelated. We envision a world in which social justice movements are inclusive and collaborative as we help make it possible for all people, regardless of chosen or inherent identities, to have access, opportunity and security.
Our roots are in challenging religion-based oppression because the religious right is a powerful cultural and political agent with financial force underpinning its work. The beliefs, actions and rhetoric of the religious right lead to the loss of jobs, healthcare, educational access, financial security, and social inclusion for LGBTQ people. When we challenge the political platform of the religious right from our LGBTQ context, we are also challenging other forms of oppression including sexism, racism and classism.
Since our inception, we have implemented our work with a dedication to the nonviolent principles of M.K. Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. As such, we are called to work with mindfulness to both process and product: honoring that people are at the heart of politics and recognizing that how we work is as important as what we are working towards. This dedication includes a commitment to racial and economic justice because we understand that systems of oppression are interwoven; as we progress towards one element of justice, we strive to make other forms of oppression visible and uproot them them.
The legacies of Gandhi and King both point to this intersectional justice approach. It is a matter not only of ethics but also of efficacy for the success of the movement. Therefore, through programming, internal structuring, education and collaboration, Soulforce seeks to challenges systems of injustice, within and without the LGBTQ movement.
In Cindi’s own words
I do not believe that the United States is a true democracy unless its people are truly tolerant. I do not believe that the world can be truly tolerant until we eliminate oppression of LGBT people based on religious belief.