A: The idea to start a non-profit organization called Riders Against Racism (RAR) was the result of some conversations between Matt Niswonger and Cathy Claesson, Josh Pearlman, Sarah Marschall, Richard Niswonger, Justin Cummings, Ryan Althaus, Susie Murphy, Mike Tee, David Orr, and Jamie Orr. Without these conversations RAR would have never been born. In addition to the influence of these conversations, RAR was also the result of some soul searching after reading How To Be An Antiracist by Ibram Kendi in the summer of 2020. This book helped us realize that talking about racism openly and honestly is important for the outdoor community. Part of solving the problem of racism is admitting that we have a problem in the first place. That’s why the outdoor recreation community must come to grips with the lack of diversity in outdoor spaces. For some, joining RAR will be the first time they publicly stand against racism.
A: We want to do more than just raise awareness about the need for inclusion and diversity in outdoor recreation. We believe we need to make a change in racist policies. We chose the Minden siren because it is the last sundown siren in America and blares in a town right next to a place many outdoor enthusiasts in our region recreate. The siren causes generational trauma and the evening siren needs to be turned off once are for all.
A: We believe the stories of the Washoe and the impact of generational trauma. Why not listen to the people who suffer when they here this eventing whistle? KOLO TV gave balanced coverage to the issue and includes interviews with Minden residents, Washoe tribal leaders, and RAR founder Matt Niswonger.
A: We are a volunteer organization and our events bring awareness to the sundown siren in Minden. Since our founders roots are in the outdoors, we believe in the power of nature to heal. Therefore all of the money we raise through events goes to the Washoe Cultural and Outdoor Expedition Program, which is run by the tribe’s only probation officer, Paula Smith.
A: Yes RAR is a part of Sweaty Sheep Santa Cruz, a 501(c)(3) organization with tax-exempt status. Our EIN is 23-6393377. Through Sweaty Sheep we are officially a part of the Presbyterian Church of San Jose, and our mission is completely non-denominational and accepting of all faiths.