By Amy Morse
On any given night, Sarah Massey is jetting off on her giant, badass motorcycle to local #resist organizing meetings, gay dance party protests, or art openings (that she promotes). Sarah is an unapologetic champion for causes that inspire her – an articulate communications guru who lights up the room with her magnetic charisma and booming laughter. Among her many titles, she is Sgt of Hotness of the Outriders Women’s Motorcycle Club, the DMV women’s LGBTQA biker club. She proudly noted, “We stand up for who we are, for progress and love – -sometimes in gay regalia, like leather chaps, vests, rainbow flags and pink pussy hats. I want to be as visible as possible as an LGBTQ person, as we extend our hands to connect with other at-risk communities.”
Sarah is among a group of creative activists who are taking nontraditional steps to disrupt business as usual and call out bigotry, intolerance and systemic injustice as they see it, working at the frontlines where the personal is often political. Sarah recently helped to organize All in Service DC, a group of 130 local businesses that donated portions of inauguration weekend sales to local charities – raising a whopping $80,000. All in Service DC celebrates D.C.’s diversity by giving back to organizations that keep local communities thriving.
The recent election, like her reaction to surviving the September 11th attacks, marked a major turning point in her activism. In 2001, she protested the invasion of Iraq and moved to D.C. to work for the AFL-CIO. Sarah’s new project, Powerful Resistance, aims to create and celebrate a beloved community.
Massey noted, “We need to be the leaders we seek in the world. We need to be more attractive than greed and fear. Powerful Resistance is compassion in action.” Since the election she has organized workshops on positive psychology for activists, helped find legal resources for marginalized communities and brought gayborhood Valentines to Vice President Pence. “My dream is to create a new type of media channel that promotes love and healing, while teaching and empowering #resisters — like Oprah for social change,” said Sarah.
Professionally, Sarah is a public relations professional who has advocated to raise the minimum wage, reform urban transportation systems and promote environmental justice. In the months ahead she plans to fight for the First Amendment, LGBTQ rights and D.C. statehood. She is passionate about evolving culture toward greater awareness and acceptance of sex positivity, legalization of drugs, and promoting the arts (especially public art).
Woman from history who inspires her
Sarah’s mom offers her daily inspiration and guidance. A professor who climbed the academic career ladder to become a university president, Dr. Marilyn Chapin Massey always made social justice and fairness centerpieces of her work. “As a young person, due to my mom, I thought the meaning of leadership was ensuring access and equality. Now I see that my mom was really swimming against the tide, working as an activist for her students and workers, and I am super proud of her for it,” says Sarah. Marilyn now enjoys a career as a visual artist in Paris.
Another woman who inspires Sarah is the president of the Outriders Women’s Motorcycle Club, Tammy Kronebusch. Tammy works as a Lieutenant at Prince William County Department of Fire & Rescue. Tammy and Sarah first met at Capital Pride in 2013, and Sarah joined Outriders a year later. “To me, Tammy represents what is amazing about being a modern woman. She excels in a career that is traditionally considered male. I can’t imagine what it takes to put out fires, to help sick people in an ambulance or to investigate horrible crimes. She seems to do it all with humor and grace. I also see Tammy as a loving parent. She is strength in the face of adversity, I admire her character, and I am grateful for our friendship,” says Sarah. The Outriders WMC has the honor of leading the Capital Pride Parade, so look for Sarah and Tammy our front this June for the #UnapoligeticallyProud celebration.