FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Amy Steele, Luna Media Group
Soulforce Equality Ride Announces 2012 Co-Directors,Jason Conner and J. Mason
Fifth Ride of Nationwide Social Justice Bus Tour Appoints Two Young Activists to Confront LGBTQ Oppression
ABILENE, TEXAS ± Today, Soulfource ± a non-profit organization committed to the freedomof lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people from political and spiritualoppression ± announced the new co-directors for this year¶s Equality Ride.Jason Conner, 27, and J. Mason, 27, will lead a team of 15 Riders on the organization¶s fifthtwo-month bus tour from Philadelphia to San Francisco to reach out to communities and confrontthe oppression of students and faculty at colleges with policies that discriminate against LGBTQ people.
Conner comes to Soulforce after his venture with the 2010 Equality Ride as a selected Rider.
Raised in the Latter-day Saints church, he served a two-year mission in the Florida OrlandoMission and left the church upon coming out three years later. Over the past 10 years, Conner has worked with and for various non-profits, including United Way, The Red Cross, Utah Family
Partners, The Central Florida Compassion Outreach Center and the Boy Scouts of America.³I believe in the effectiveness of the Equality Ride to create real change,´ said Conner, who
currently works full time as the Director of Programs for Soulforce in Philadelphia, Pa. ³And I believe in the mission of Soulforce. As a participant in the 2010 Equality Ride, I can literally saythat the Ride saves lives. It saved mine. The Ride provided me with an outlet to come out to my
friends and family, and then provided me with an instant community of friends and loved ones.´Partnering with Conner to direct the tour, Mason ± a black, transgender and queer educator and
performer also from Philadelphia ± has worked with thousands of community members andservice providers on the needs of LGBTQ youth and adults over the course of his career.³For many, having a safe place to express their faith as LGBTQIA [lesbian, gay, bisexual,transgender, queer, intersex and ally] people is the difference between life and death. I am participating in Equality Ride to save as many lives as possible,´ said Mason, who joins the 2012
Equality Ride as Program Coordinator for Soulforce from his role as the Training Coordinator of the Attic Youth Center¶s Bryson Institute in Philadelphia.This week, the Equality Riders meet their co-directors in Florida for nonviolent resistance andcommunity service training. Soulforce will announce more details on the 2012 Equality Ride inthe coming weeks leading up to the launch on March 4, 2012.###