Honoring J. Shia with 2024 Open Door Award on Liberation Sunday

Old South Church in Boston is proud to announce that J. Shia, founder of Madhouse Motors, will receive the 2024 Open Door Award. The award presentation will take place on June 16, 2024, which the church is marking as Liberation Sunday - a day dedicated to recognizing that all struggles for justice are interconnected, and that none of us are free until all are free. In accordance with this celebration, the morning’s offering will be donated to the Palestinian Children’s Relief Fund, a longstanding organization providing medical care in Gaza.

The Open Door Award, established by Old South Church in 2014, symbolizes the church’s mission to pry open doors that have been closed to marginalized communities. The award draws inspiration from the inscription from the Book of Revelation, "BEHOLD, I HAVE SET BEFORE THEE AN OPEN DOOR," found above the Portico of Old South’s 1875 National Historic Landmark building. This award highlights the church’s dedication to inclusivity and justice, celebrating individuals who make significant contributions toward creating equitable spaces.

J. Shia embodies the values of the Open Door Award through her pioneering work in the motorcycle industry, a field traditionally dominated by men. As a queer woman of Lebanese and Syrian heritage, J. brings a unique perspective to the trade, infusing her work with artistic expression and challenging stereotypes. Over a decade ago, J. founded Madhouse Motors, a motorcycle repair shop specializing in antique and custom machines. Her designs break conventional molds, viewing motorcycles not just as modes of transportation but as expressive art forms. Each custom build is a fusion of engineering and artistry, showcasing her ability to blend performance with aesthetic appeal. J.'s work challenges traditional motorcycle culture, infusing it with creativity and inclusivity, and earning her international recognition as a leading figure in the industry.

In addition to her contributions to the motorcycle community, J. Shia is an advocate for the rights of marginalized individuals. She has been a vocal proponent of the Massachusetts Parentage Act, fighting for legal recognition and protections for non-traditional families. Her own experience as a parent without legal protections underscores her commitment to this cause. Despite the challenges, J. has remained a steadfast caregiver to her son, advocating for reforms that would provide security and recognition for families like hers. Following the service on Sunday, there will be a letter-writing table so that church attendees can advocate for this legislation to their representatives.

All are invited to attend this special Liberation Sunday service at 11am on June 16. The service is also viewable on livestream at youtube.com/OldSouthChurch.

Learn more about J. Shia: