Why I Ride: Mattie Carranza

Happy Valentine’s Day, friends! It took me a bit to start writing this. How do I articulate the excitement, anticipation, passion, and awareness that I now feel over something that feels so out of reach… so far from fully understanding. I have read these past blog posts with awe and wonder of how I could be placed on a team of women that want to dedicate their summer to put the pedal to the medal (ha, get it? Man, I hope ya’ll are ready for my terrible dad jokes :-)). It is a stellar honor and I honestly can’t believe that I… that we, have the chance to do this. There is air in our lungs to proclaim that the equality of freedom is for all. There will be roads beneath our wheels that will trail behind us and go on ahead, reminding us that the distance is worth the lives that are seen and unseen.

 I have been asked to write about why I ride and I am moved to a stand still often times, because it is not unknown to any of us that we are riding for something far bigger than ourselves. I remember looking at this painstaking reality in the face when I traveled to India for the first time. My heart almost fell out of my chest and I felt the deep echoes of hopelessness because the weight of it all. This weight is so often ignored and honestly, unfamiliar to many of us. It was to me, and parts of it still are. As we drove in the midst of traffic in Northern India, we were told that this area was the epicenter of a large human trafficking ring that stole the lives of many that had no opportunity and no avenue to freedom. These women, and even children, stood at the end of the street with empty eyes and unheard dreams. As I came home, I recognized that these empty eyes that I wouldn’t let myself shake were not only there, but here.

Real men, real women, and real children are taken every day and exploited here. The statistics are high and astonishing, but there is something that we can do that goes far beyond a motivational speech, but we can ACT, speak, and love.

On this Valentine’s Day, I share that I ride so that these brother’s and sister’s have the chance to experience the fullness of life and to taste the goodness of love and healing. I ride because I want to own up to the pieces that have created with turning a blind eye, by believing that we are too small to even see the vast pain that human trafficking has caused over the walls we have built. I ride so that the tangible beauty of freedom can be raised high on a banner up above. I know I am one voice, that I am one, five foot three, post-grad that has only seen a small part of this world, but I believe that this one life we are given matters so that we may extend it. So let’s extend it. Let’s be unified and love justice and not let this disappear underneath the evil. I need you, we need you, they need you.

We are in this together, now let’s ride.