5 questions with Haven Herrin
Haven Herrin, 25, was born and raised in Dallas. Herrin serves as co-director of one of two buses in the Soulforce Equality Ride, a civil rights campaign that is visiting 32 colleges and universities this spring with policies banning the enrollment of openly LGBT students. Herrin spoke with the Voice recently via cell phone from the bus, which was traveling back east from Seattle on the last leg of the ride. For more information or to donate, visit www.soulforce.org.
How did you get involved with the Soulforce Equality Ride?
I got involved at the very beginning. I was involved with the founder in 2005, when we did test runs to Liberty University and the U.S. Naval Academy. I was co-director of the first ride in 2006. We said we’ve really got to capture this momentum, so I moved from Dallas to Minneapolis.
Like many of the riders, you have been arrested this year?
Yes, twice. The first was in early March at Notre Dame. We went the first day, and two gay students spoke up and shared their stories in the cafeteria. The school did not like that because we were establishing a presence on campus. We were issued trespassing warnings. Then we came back the next day to lay wreaths at the foot of a statue of gay famed Notre Dame graduate Dr. Tom Dooley, and they took us into custody. It can be a $500 fine or 30 days in jail. It remains to be seen. The second time was just this past Monday, April 16, at Brigham Young University-Idaho. I was arrested for carrying photos of Soulforce riders’ families onto campus. The home of BYU-Idaho, Rexburg, is known as “America’s Family Community.”
But you are willing to go to jail if that’s what it takes?
It’s about LGBT youth who face discrimination. I want to go in their stead. I want to help carry that burden, because if we don’t, then who would? There still needs to be a youth movement for LGBT rights, and I want to be a part of that. There’s a lot to be done, and I don’t see other people making it happen.
What do you have to say about Dallas?
I’m a Dallas girl. My grandparents are from Dallas. My mom is from Dallas. They all continue to live there. It’s hard to be so far away from family. But I am so proud to look and see so many LGBT people are in positions of political power there. I’m very excited for the future of Dallas.
But you have been disappointed by the lack of monetary support for the ride from your hometown?
Yes. It’s a $400,000 project. We want to make it so any young adult who feels the activism calling can get on the bus. It’s an expensive endeavor, and we definitely need donors, and actually I want Dallas to step up more.
Soundout is a weekly column featuring people whose jobs and interests have an impact on the daily lives of members of the GLBT community. It features those who often go unnoticed by the press and community. If you’d like to recommend someone to cover in this column, contact staff writer John Wright at email@example.com.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, April 20, 2007.