Today, Cincinnati civil rights attorney Al Gerhardstein embarked on a 1200-mile bicycle ride from Mobile, Alabama, with his daughter, Jessica. Riding a tandem bike, the two intend to trace the Underground Railroad on their way back home to Cincinnati. They plan to arrive in time for the June 20 Civil Rights Game between the Reds and the White Sox.
You can follow Al and Jessica's journey on their blog, Civil Rights Bike Ride. As Jessica explains in her inaugural post, they are riding to raise money and awareness for the Ohio Justice and Policy Center. For those of you not paying attention, for some time now, OJPC has been leading the way in local criminal justice reform efforts. Most recently, OJPC has been working to eliminate the City's blanket prohibition on hiring convicted felons. Donation links are available either at the CRBR blog or OJPC's website (here's a direct link).
And if any of you are questioning whether a desk-bound attorney in his late fifties in really going to slog through a 1200-mile bike ride just as summer starts to heat up, don't worry about it. Four years ago, Al spent his summer vacation riding from the West Coast to the East Coast.
If you want to join in the fun, a group ride is planned on June 20 at 9:00 am, from Pendrey Park in Melbourne, Kentucky, to Sawyer Point. The suggested donation for the ride is $20, and there'll be help available to get you back to your car, if necessary. (The group ride anticipates people riding their own bikes, not one, really long tandem bicycle.)
UPDATE: Al has made his first appearance on the blog. I gave pretty short shrift to explaining OJPC's mission or the purpose of Al and Jessica's ride. Al does a better job:
Read about OJPC. Quietly OJPC is challenging the status quo. A prison population that is 50% black is intolerable. A prison population that exceeds 55,000 in this state is intolerable. Treating as criminal many acts that are driven by drug dependence is intolerable. Sweeping into the criminal system drug addicts and mentally ill folks and then doing little to help them conquer their underlying problem is intolerable.Go read the whole post. It's well worth the time.