OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - The Soulforce "Equality Ride" bus rode into the Oklahoma City areawith 17 young social justice activists Monday, March 26, with a mission of confronting issues ondiscriminatory lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) policies at two prestigiousuniversities
Southern Nazarene University and Oklahoma Baptist University.As part of their two-month bus tour from Philadelphia, Pa. to San Francisco, Calif., the EqualityRiders visited Southern Nazarene University (SNU) upon their arrival in Oklahoma for a paneldiscussion with the university's faculty members on issues surrounding their LGBTQ policies oncampus. The discussion, open to all students, staff and faculty of the campus, addressed audiencequestions, such as why the campus does not allow an LGBTQ safe space and which affirmingLGBTQ Bible passages Soulforce uses. Afterward, students of SNU ate dinner alongsideEquality Riders to continue the dialogue about the important issues facing the LGBTQcommunity on their campus.Christian Parks, 20, Equality Rider from Philadelphia, participated on the panel discussion as a
representative of Soulforce. “The conversation got hard, but thatʼs good,” Parks said. “Coming
my hope is they all can begin to see us as humans instead of an issue.”
The Riders headed to Oklahoma Baptist University (OBU) today, March 28, in Shawnee, Okla.,to participate in a non-
violent direct action in protest of OBUʼs discriminatory policies against
LGBTQ people. Three community churches were also involved in the direct action: ExpressionsCommunity Fellowship, Mayflower Congregation and Church of the Open Arms.Along with theRiders, community members participated in a vigil line, shared coffee and cookies withparticipants and observers, and spread an affirming message of acceptance."Equality Ride" co-director Jason Conner, 27, from Philadelphia, said the policies at OBUdirectly contribute to the harm, suicides and, in some cases, murder afflicted on LGBTQ people.
“We’re here in Oklahoma to reach students who may be suffering in sile
nce. For those told theyare unloved and unholy, we are here to tell them that they are affirmed and loved by God without
reservation,” Conner said. “We are here to help save lives.”
The "Equality Ride" will be in Oklahoma City through March 30, when it will then travel to NewOrleans for its sixth leg of the tour.