Michaela Jae Rodriguez
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Soulforce bus
defaced and activists given citations

Soulforce bus
            defaced and activists given citations

A group of young
LGBT activists headed to Christian campuses nationwide
on a mission to open a dialogue about antigay school
policies encountered roadblocks during their first day
on the tour. One of two buses from Soulforce
Q’s Equality Ride was defaced Wednesday night in
Sioux Center, Iowa, home of Dordt College. The group
on the bus, headed toward campuses in the East,
encountered a group of harassers Wednesday night who circled
the Equality Riders’ hotel in their vehicles. Haven
Herrin, young adult activism codirector for Soulforce,
told The Advocate that some of the Riders
saw the harassers mooning them from outside the hotel
lobby. On Thursday morning the activists discovered
their bus covered in antigay graffiti.

“The
Riders were not sure whether the people were students or
townspeople who defaced the bus,” Herrin said.

According to its
policy handbook, same-sex sexual activity is grounds to
dismiss a student or faculty member from Dordt.

Meanwhile, on a
westbound bus carrying more Soulforce Q Riders, three
activists were handed citations for their presence on the
Notre Dame University campus in Indiana. According to
a statement released Thursday, Equality Riders on the
westbound bus were with gay students on campus who
attempted to speak publicly about their experiences in the
cafeteria of the student center. A Notre Dame
freshman, Eddie Velasquez, was announcing further
opportunities for dialogue with the Equality Riders
when an administration official approached him and attempted
to escort him away. His information was instead taken
down by campus authorities.

Herrin told
The Advocate that she was present for the
incident at Notre Dame, where she and two others received
citations. On Thursday the three will be joined by three
other participants who will walk onto campus with
wreaths to place on the Tom Dooley statue.
“Campus police told us that we would be arrested if
we were to step foot onto the campus,” she
said.

Equality Riders
received a similar welcome in Cleveland, Tenn., during
last year’s tour. There, community members wrote
"fags-mobile" on the side of the bus.

Officials from
each college were unreachable for comment at press time.
(The Advocate)

Tags: World, World

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