Tobin Miller Shearer
of the $15,000
as of July 21.
From July 29-August 4, I will ride 500 miles in a week to raise
money for the 50th anniversary and the next 50 years of UM's
African-American Studies Program and Black Student Union.
Join me by riding or sponsoring the event.
- Contribute per mile using the above form.
- Attend the send off at 8 am on Saturday, July 29, on the UM oval.
- Join me for a leg (or all!) of the 500 miles.
- Offer a meal or bed space for a night. I'll be spending the night in these communities: Sula, Dillon, La Hood, Townsend, Silver City, and Lincoln
- Share this page with your friends and family: http://hs.umt.edu/aas/news-pages/solidarity-ride-page.php
- Invite your business or organization to sponsor the ride.
- Frequent one of our corporate sponsors (and let them know we sent you).
- Join me for an evening meal (bring your own food!) and a discussion of black history in Montana. Just text me at 406-662-8227 for a link to locations.
- Did I mention you can contribute using the above form?
- Tell someone about the ride and how they can support it by doing any of these top ten things.
Riding 500 miles in the mountains of Montana in the course of seven days won’t solve racism. But in a year in which I’ve watched my African-American students deal with increasing racial harassment, seen Black Lives Matter posters repeatedly torn down by my office door, watched white supremacists ramp up their rhetoric in the state I now call home, and been put on a national watchlist for speaking out against racism and white privilege, it seems like the time to do something positive, something that offers some movement forward. Something hopeful.
So, from July 29 to August 4, I’m going to ride 500 miles in the mountains of Montana over the course of seven days (like it says up there in the first sentence) to raise money for the 50th anniversary of the African-American Studies (AAS) Program and the Black Student Union (BSU) at the University of Montana – and for our next 50 years. There is a long history of biking and black history in Montana, including an incredible recreation of the original 25th Infantry’s 1897 Missoula to St. Louis ride by BSU members in 1974. While I won’t be reprising any of the historic routes, I am honoring that tradition by choosing a bike ride to raise funds.
My students are amazing. They are planning a Black Solidarity Summit as part of our 2018 50th Anniversary of Black Studies at UM (the country’s third oldest program by the way). But there is very little money right now in our university system to support them in their efforts. So, I’m setting out to raise $15,000 to support them, celebrate our 50th anniversary, and bring amazing speakers like Darlene Clark Hine, one of the country’s pre-eminent scholars of African-American history, so my students and our community can learn from her.
All of this activity offers energy, hope, and possibility for a better future in our city, state, and country. Like I said, my bike ride won’t solve racism. It – and all of you who join me by sponsoring – will, however, be part of demonstrating that we want this place to be better than it already is. Rather than be known as a breeding ground for racism, this bike ride will be one way of establishing a base to make Montana a place that fosters and equips our young people to lead the way forward past the racism that so often holds us back from what we could become.
Join me. My life partner and I (thanks Cheryl, my love) are covering all the costs of my ride. All the money you pledge will go directly to support the BSU and AAS students and the program that supports them.
You can follow me on Twitter and Facebook (#ride4blacksolidarity and #500forthe50th). You can donate using the above form. My specific route is available by request at firstname.lastname@example.org. You’re welcome to swing by and join me for a segment if you want, but you do need to know that this ride is entirely self-support. There is no sag wagon. We’re keeping it lean, clean, and free of overhead.
And, please let your family know. Share this with your friends. Pass it on. I am aware that I’ll be riding in remote areas in a state where white supremacists are not unknown and bikers have been subject to harassment. But I’m looking to this ride as a way to invite us all to do better. To do something good together. The more public the ride becomes, the safer I’ll be in the end.
Our corporate sponsorships levels are each named after an African-American Civil Rights leader:
The Septima Clark ($100 - $249)
The Ella Baker ($250 - $499)
The Pauli Murray ($500 - $749)
The Fannie Lou Hamer ($750 or above)
Our Julian Bond publicity partners are:
- Adventure Cycling Association
- Bike Walk Alliance for Missoula
- Black Student Union at UM
- Davidson Honors College at UM
- Empower Montana
- Health and Human Performance Department at UM (Thanks, Charlie Palmer and Valerie Moody)
- Jeannette Rankin Peace Center
- Love Lives Here
- Missoula Interfaith Collaborative
- School of Extended and Life-long Learning at UM
- University Center at UM
- Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at UM
And the following individuals have given logistical, publicity, and equipment support:
- Mark and Kara Hanson
- Liz Song Mandell and Samuel Mandell
- Dylan Shearer
- Norman Singley