Thank you for considering joining the Riders Against Racism (RAR) 50/50 challenge. The goal is to climb 50K feet on a bike in less than 50 days. Along the way your participation will demonstrate that you stand publicly against racism. Your participation will also raise money and awareness about the efforts of the Washoe people to stop the Minden “sundown” siren.
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: 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.
A: We are a volunteer organization and profits raised during the 50/50 Challenge go directly to the Tribal Historic Preservation Office (THPO) of the Washoe Tribe. The THPO works on policy issues like the Sq*** Valley name change (a recent victory), and the Minden siren. The rest of the money goes to cover our costs including T Shirts, stickers, trophies, and BikeReg hosting fees.
A: We want to do more than just raise awareness about the need for inclusion and diversity in outdoor recreation. We chose the Minden siren because it’s a concrete way to tackle a racist policy and make a real difference. We truly believe that with our help the Washoe can convince the Town of Minden to silence the sundown siren once and for all.
A: If you study the facts, we think it’s clear that the siren is an example of a racist policy that needs to end.
Here is a recent news story that gives balanced coverage to the issue and includes interviews with Minden residents, Washoe tribal leaders, and RAR founder Matt Niswonge: