Spring 2007, I stood before a sea of campus leaders at an anti-LGBT college. It was 11pm and I was delirious from a day filled with theological debates, press interviews and outreach. I was on a two-month-long journey by bus with 26 other young adults called the Soulforce Equality Ride. We were going to the most homophobic and transphobic campuses in the nation and challenging them on their policies and hate rhetoric. We prepared for backlash. We prepared for victory. For violence. For damnation. We studied the Bible–the tool that was most often used to justify hate toward my community. I told them a story that night. I told them my story. That’s all I really had. And all I really needed. 🌈
We were arrested on several campuses for non-violence demonstrations during this time. We were radical. We were pushing a concept past the point that many activist, forget politicians, were comfortable with. We went to ultra-conservative locations and dressed and presented ourselves modestly. Yes, we were on the leading edge, but we also approached the work with reverence, solidarity and the willingness to build peace–even if be through messy coalitions. 🤘🏼✌🏼
The radicals are my people. The scrappy, rabble-rousers, advocates, grass-roots truth-tellers, outsiders, diploma-less, homeless, fighters, the weary and wandering, the vulnerable visionaries, the lay-people on the fringe, the guards of the perimeter, purposeful and directionless, the out-of-liners and boundary expanders. 🌈
Sacramento, my beautiful state’s capital, hosted me with a renewed vision, Equality California and their Leadership Academy set the standard, Hon. Evan Low lit the fire. I return to Los Angeles embedded with a desire to discover not what I can get, but what I can give.
Hello, City of Angels, it’s me, Brandon Kneefel, at your service. 🙇🏻