Three Equality Riders Arrested at Heritage Christian University

National Tour of Christian Colleges Advocates Safety for Gay and Transgender Students
For Immediate Release
Contact: Caitlin MacIntyre, Equality Ride Media Director
Cell: 612-715-6138

(Florence, AL) -- At 10:30 am today, three Equality Riders walked onto the campus of Heritage Christian University (HCU) to deliver letters that described their personal experiences and advocated for the safety and acceptance of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students. The young women were arrested for trespassing before they reached the end of the driveway. Prior to the arrests, an HCU administrator read a letter stating that the university was officially declining their request for dialogue.

Yesterday, Equality Riders met with one student from HCU who described the climate on campus as a "homophobic panic." He explained that students and staff were discouraged from speaking to members of the Equality Ride.

"The way we were treated today is a clear indication that gay and transgender people are not welcome at this institution. The school's choice to arrest us shows just how far they will go to suppress the message we bring," said Jarrett Lucas, Equality Ride Co-director. "HCU trains missionaries to go beyond the walls of their school to spread the inclusive gospel of Christ, but today they chose not to uphold the principles they preach."

This visit to HCU is the sixth Equality Ride stop this year. Now in its third year, the Equality Ride has visited over fifty schools, most of which have been welcoming. At other schools, participants have hosted public forums, participated in panel discussions, and taken part in worship services and Bible studies. The goal is to inspire further conversation and to empower students, faculty, and administrators to make their school welcoming to all students. The organizers of the Equality Ride use a collaborative approach, writing to college administrators months in advance and inviting them to work together to design programming that examines diverse points of view -- including points of view that affirm gay and transgender students.

The three women arrested were Caitlin MacIntyre, 19, of Houston, TX, Katie Higgins, 26, of Charleston, SC, and Taueret Manu, 21, of the Bronx, NY. The remaining Equality Riders are standing vigil in hopes that students will come out for conversation. They will remain there until 4pm CST.

Soulforce Q is the young adult division of Soulforce, a social justice organization that works to end political and religious oppression of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people through relentless nonviolent resistance. For more information, go to www.equalityride.com.

1 comment:

shrink on the couch said...

Thanks and kudos to Caitlin, Katie and Taueret. This Texas mom appreciates your efforts!