Three LGBTQ+ Ohio organizations issued a statement on Thursday urging community members to “to stay away from the Statehouse specifically and downtown Columbus generally” between January 16th and January 20th.
Buckeye Region Anti-Violence Organization (BRAVO), Equality Ohio, and TransOhio made the joint statement in light of FBI information regarding coordinated activities at the Ohio state capitol building as well as recent “specific threats to the local Trans community, Black and Brown leaders, and the LGBTQ+ community generally.”
Those who must travel in the these areas are encouraged to travel in pairs, remain aware of surroundings at all times, and to not engage with those gathering.
The statement in full:
Community Members and Allies:
Buckeye Region Anti-Violence Organization (BRAVO), Equality Ohio, and TransOhio are aware of the planned activities at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., as well as coordinated activities at the Ohio state capitol building in Columbus during the next several days. We are also aware of specific threats to the local Trans community, Black and Brown leaders, and the LGBTQ+ community generally. We take the potential for violence seriously. Each member of the community is encouraged to take reasonable steps to support their and their family’s safety, recognizing that those who are threatened are not responsible for the violent actions others take that jeopardize our safety.
The weekend ahead should be one of celebration and reflection upon the work of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as we prepare to honor his life as a nation on Monday, January 18th. A weekend of action in celebration of his legacy had been planned by community leaders in Columbus to address the continued state violence being experienced by Black and Brown bodies. We take a position of solidarity with these events and respect the decision of leaders to postpone them. While White supremacy remains relentless in its efforts to terrorize and suppress Black joy and community-building, we will contribute to its disruption by heeding the wisdom of Black leaders.
We strongly urge our community members who can to stay away from the Statehouse specifically and downtown Columbus generally. The FBI bulletin released this week warns of armed activities at all 50 state capitols “from 16 January [Saturday] through at least 20 January [Wednesday].” If you must be in downtown Columbus between January 16 and January 20, please do not engage with those who are gathering. Please travel in pairs when possible and remain aware of your surroundings at all times.
If you witness violence or need to make a report of violence, please contact the BRAVO HelpLine at 1-866-86-BRAVO, text 614-333-1907, or chat online at bravo-ohio.org. BRAVO has extended HelpLine hours to support the community in the coming days and the HelpLine will be operating from 12pm-2am, Saturday (1/16) through Monday (1/18) and 9am-2am, Tuesday (1/19) through Wednesday (1/20).
If you are an LGBTQ person in need of legal assistance, please contact the Equality Ohio Legal Clinic at 1-855-LGBT-LAW.