University U: Calling All Activists

Executive Director of PhillyGayCalendar

Monday night an event at the William Way Community Center drew a crowd of curious activists waiting to glean information about one of our cities unique pushes for equal rights. The Equality Ride, which is a North American tour of non-violent demonstrations, is a product of SoulForce. This Philadelphia founded non-profit is an organization whose over all goal is to seek freedom from religious and political oppression for LGBTQ and questioning people.

What started with light refreshments ended in storytelling and an exchange of email addresses and website referrals. Every attendee was interested in making the three-hour event last beyond the evening’s conversations.

Through the promotional event called University U, the stage was set for attendees to peak inside the inner workings of the radical tour many religious and politically charged young adults have participated in since 1999. In essence University U is just that, a learning space for those interested in joining the ride, as well as those who might just be curious about what happens on the non-violent tour. This year the organizers behind the ride are taking a particularly open approach to your involvement in the event.

With an emphasis on the diversity of this ride, organizers like J. Mason are particularly interested in assuring you that there is a way for you to participate, even if you are unable to make the commitment of joining the actual ride. “Not everyone thinks that they want to be on the ride, or that they can.” Remarked Mason, who hosted the event alongside fellow organizers Jess Kalup, Manny Lampon, and Tommy Atz.

” The video was only a groundbreaker for the event, which then lead into testimonies from previous riders, followed by a time for discussion and questions. “This is one of the reasons why University U is so important to the over all success of the ride,” Mason continues, “It will spark within you a dialogue. Hopefully you will leave questioning how you can be a part of this.

Not only is SoulForce is set on raising awareness about the ride but resources like the website forum and University U are perfect opportunities to connect with folks who have been on the rides and to learn from their experiences. University U is also great way to start getting involved with the ride itself.

To find out more about the Equality Ride and how you can be a part of it visit their website at There is still time to get involved. SoulForce will be accepting applications for the ride through the first week of August. Don’t hesitate to contact for any questions.

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