Arrests mounting for Soulforce riders

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Arrests are mounting up for members of the nondenominational Soulforce Equality Ride as they attempt to enter Christian colleges in the deep South to engage students in a discussion on gay inclusion.

Two Equality Riders were arrested for trespassing when they walked onto the Mississippi College campus to deliver a letter from an anonymous gay male student who is currently enrolled at the school in Clinton, Mississippi.

The riders were accompanied by two Mississippi College students. After a warning from MC security, the two students stepped back. The Equality Riders continued onto campus and were arrested.

The letter described his experiences as a gay man on the MC campus, where he said he has been the target of anti-gay speech.

Part of the letter read, “I honestly fear that when I do decide to let the public know who I really am, many of the organizations and activities with which I am involved will turn me away.”

“This letter is a clear indication that there are students on this campus who are struggling to have their voices heard,” said Katie Higgins, Equality Ride Co-director. “If the student were to openly express the content of this letter, he would be placing himself at risk.”

In 2007, when members of the group visited Mississippi College Clinton police issued a written warning that “riders” would be arrested for congregating in groups of four or more near the campus, the ACLU of Mississippi intervened, and the Clinton police withdrew the unconstitutional restrictions on First Amendment rights.

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