CHICAGO, Ill.—On July 4, the Ride2Freedom cyclists visited the Chicago headquarters of civil and human rights leader the Rev. Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow/PUSH organization for the taping of the group’s weekly TV show.
During the program, the Rev. Jackson called the R2F riders to join him on stage. He described their 3000-mile bicycle journey to save children orphaned by the persecution of Falun Gong in China, praised the riders for their sacrifices and their exertions, and called on the entire audience to join him in honoring the riders.
Illinois State representative Mary Flowers joined the riders and the Rev. Jackson on stage. Rep. Flowers was responsible for getting the entire Illinois House of Representatives to honor the R2F cyclists on July 1, and was instrumental in getting the riders on stage with Mr. Jackson.
Rev. Jackson called team leader Annie Chen to the microphone. Ms. Chen explained that Ride2Freedom is composed of teens from 15 nations but that “united we can stand for one righteous cause—it doesn’t matter your skin color or background; we are all human beings,” and that all human beings should be treated with compassion.
Ride2Freedom is a small step towards ending the persecution in China and bringing freedom of belief to China, Chen said. “You are doing your very best to end racism and injustice in this world, so you and I, we are together—and together, we can do this.”
Ms. Chen’s words were greeted with a standing ovation from Rev. Jackson and the entire audience.
Ride2Freedom left Rainbow/Push headquarters and headed to the Chicago suburb of Evanston to participate in the city’s July 4th parade.