Scientist, professor, and first American woman in space Sally Ride died on July 23. If you haven’t reminded yourself of her place in our history since then, her Wikipedia page and the Sally Ride Science site are good starts.
I remember learning about Ride in early elementary school, and getting a strong sense that what she was doing was significant; something we would look back on for its own sake, and also as a symbol of women’s empowerment. Her example stuck with me.
There are several reasons I named my solo band after her, but the important thing now is to share, explicitly, that I think I have done it in good faith, to draw attention to her life and work. Too many of my peers, on first hearing the name, confuse her with Christa McAuliffe, and while McAuliffe deserves the recognition, I would not use her name for a band. My point is that Sally Ride’s story still needs to be told, and my aim is to be one who tells it.
If anyone from Ride’s family or the Sally Ride Science organization want to discuss the use of her name, I invite them to contact me via the comments on this post or privately through this website’s profile and messaging functions. If I’m hindering them in any way, I want to know, and change.
Before every SR album I’ve released, I’ve thought about what Ride might think of the music if she heard it. I haven’t changed anything because of that, but I’ve made sure it’s all stuff I think she could respect. Not knowing about her partner at the time, now I’m even happier with my decision about the Teacher and Barman’s relationship in Boots.
I lose probably a couple hundred dollars per year on the band, between website hosting, maintaining my gear, and setting no price on our albums. If that ever changes, I will certainly arrange for a percentage to go to Sally Ride Science.
Her life, work, and story are the important things. Learn something new about her today, and speak for her when you have the opportunity.