Civil Rides is a series of multi-day bicycle rides that raises awareness and money for persistent rural poverty in America and the issues that stem from it. We see poverty as a modern Civil Rights issue in America. Persistent rural poverty has the most basic needs for human existence at its center: food, water, and shelter (housing). We believe that people who live in the United States should not suffer under conditions where they are simply trying to survive. All proceeds from our rides go to Together for Hope, a rural development coalition, and Out Hunger, a hunger initiative. These two organizations exemplify what it means to be agents of transformation in the area of poverty relief and development.
Our inaugural bike ride in 2018 was from the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, TN, to the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum in Jackson, MS. Civil Rides was the first event that opened MLK50, the 50th Anniversary of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination. After leaving Memphis, we rode through some of the most intense Civil Rights history in America that included the tragedy of Dr. King’s martyrdom in Memphis, the devastating story of Emmett Till, and the birthplaces of Civil Rights icons Fannie Lou Hamer and James Meredith. This was not simply a bicycle ride, it was a pilgrimage that put us in holy space and helped us understand our place in modern civil rights issues. Today, we battle persistent rural poverty and we follow these legends in the work that they started.
In 2019, we will host three Civil Rides: another one in the Delta, and two new ones in the Cotton Belt of Alabama and the Rio Grande Valley in Texas. In 2020, we will add two more Civil Rides to these three and have one ride in each of the five regions of persistent rural poverty in America: the Mississippi River Delta (the Delta), the Rio Grande Valley (RGV), the Cotton Belt, Appalachia, and Native Lands.
Civil Rides Rio Grande Valley: March 29-31, 2019 (Ends on Caesar Chavez Day)
Civil Rides Delta: April 4-6, 2019 (Begins on the anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination)