Protesters Take Over Stonewall Columbus Meeting

Jul 18, 2017

About 200 protesters stormed into a Stonewall Columbus community meeting on Monday night, taking the microphone and holding court for more than an hour. They were protesting what they call Stonewall’s lack of response to concerns about violence against LGBT people of color.

Protester chants included “Stonewall should have done more. Drop the charges against the Black Pride 4,” referring to the four people arrested for blocking the route of last month’s Pride Parade.

The Monday event, organized by the group Black, Queer & Intersectional Columbus, called for Stonewall executive director Karla Rothan to resign for her response to the June protest and arrests.

"They‘ve shown multiple times by ignoring meetings, kind of standing us honestly, that they don’t really take this issue seriously. And we’re there to try to see if they’ll take it seriously,” said Ariana Steele, one of the group’s co-founders.

Rothan said she has no plans to resign.

“I didn’t know how deep the pain in my community is, and for that I am truly sorry,” Rothan said after the Monday protest.

Columbus Police say the four people arrested last month were blocking the Pride Parade route. Police say during their confrontation with protesters, one person tried to grab an officer’s gun.

Protesters have disputed that claim.

Protesters say they blocked the parade route to try to achieve seven minutes of silence to draw attention to injustices suffered by LGBT people of color.