UPDATE: If you don’t have anything planned for tonight, consider protesting the recent hate crimes by walking the streets of Columbus in PINK! People are meeting at Southbend Tavern (where one of the crimes was committed) at 6pm tonight and will be walking to all the places hate crimes happened recently.
Here is the link to the facebook event for the Southbend Event! Please share it with everyone you know in Columbus! 6PM tonight at Southbend Tavern (126 East Moler, Columbus, Ohio 43207)
The LGBTQA Community in Columbus is rallying their support for the three men who were involved in the latest hate crimes to hit the Columbus area the past week, by wearing pink this Friday. During a span of less than a week these three separate attacks occurred. Ironically Chris Kratavil, one of the three victims, was wearing a pink shirt when he was attacked as he was walking home.
Kratavil was punched from behind, knocked down and kicked repeatedly, said Sam Schisler, the marketing manager for Union and Axis Nightclub and a friend who accompanied the 32-year-old to OSU Medical Center later Monday. When a second man joined the attack and the two didn’t let up, the trained black-belt knew to protect his head and face, he told friends. (Outlook Media)
Hearing Chris scream for help thankfully a friend came to his rescue, causing the attackers to flee the scene. As shown in the picture (left) Kratavil suffered cuts, bruises and fractures around his eye.
Earlier that Monday, in an unrelated hate crime, David Conley was also attacked by a group of men in the Old Town area of Columbus.
Frightened by the three men who were walking behind him he called 911 but that didn’t stop the three men, who used vulgar language during the attack that indicating an anti-gay bias, from attacking Conley.
The three men were arrested after the Columbus Police arrived quickly.
Earlier that week, Christopher Ashcraft (visiting from Kentucky) was also attacked by men asking Ashcraft to jump-start their car. Ashcraft stated that the assailants kicked him in the face, until he was unconscious. The attackers left him unconscious in an alley outside the Southbend Tavern in Merion Village.
“It was a hate crime,” Ashcraft said. “I was hanging out at a gay bar. It’s Pride Month,” he told a reporter for a local Cincinnati ABC station.
With Pride in Columbus (June 21-22) approaching, Gloria McCauley, executive director of The Buckeye Region Anti-Violence Organization (BRAVO) states, “We’re so out and proud in June, and people are out there who don’t like it.” BRAVO is an important link to survivor advocacy and assistance regarding hate crimes, discrimination, domestic violence, and sexual assault. They do a great service for the LGBT Community in Ohio.
Bravo regularly offers self-defense classes for the LGBT Community, free of charge. Outlook Columbus reports that BRAVO will conduct safety workshops for any group that asks for free of charge as well. McCauley also stated that the local LGBT establishments have really rallied behind helping to promote safety.
Including Wall Street Nightclub which has scheduled a safety workshop for employees of LGBT bars and clubs on Monday July 15th at 7pm, conducted by BRAVO. In an article posted by Outlook Columbus the owner of Wall Street Nightclub, Scot Hafler, said employees will get tips for their own safety as well as the safety of their customers. The article goes on to state that local bars and clubs have been telling their patrons and employees that they’ll walk them to their vehicles to ensure their safety.
Skreened, a Columbus business, that creates custom apparel has stepped forward and offered the donation of 500 t-shirts to help those who don’t own a pink shirt. The founder of Skreened, Daniel Fox has graciously offered up the service of his company to provide shirts for Friday to help those take a stand against gay violence.
Skreened will be giving away pink shirts at Outlook Columbus Magazine at 11:30 am this Friday June 14 at 815 N High St, Ste Q, Columbus, Oh 43215. The shirts will be first come, first served. Donations accepted will go to BRAVO (Buckeye Region Anti-Violence Organization).
Alison Rose wants to do their part to support the GLBT community. So they will have a few of our most popular designs printed on pink tees! 100% of the proceeds will be donated to BRAVO (Buckeye Region Anti-Violence Association).
Look for them in the shop (3039 Indianola), Thursday evening and all day Friday.
Nina West, a local well known celebrity who is well loved by Columbus, created a facebook page encouraging GLBTQ people and their allies to wear pink this Friday to show solidarity with the three men. So far the event page has over 25,000 invites, with over 3,000 confirmed that they will be wearing pink on Friday.
I encourage you to change your profile and cover photo (at the bottom of this post) on facebook to help promote this worthy cause and spread the awareness of hate crimes, as well share the Facebook event page with everyone you know. The key to prevention is awareness and empowerment. Something good can come out of these senseless tragic events. These three courageous men need all the support and love they can get.
I have also wrote an article on my blog that gives individuals in the LGBT community tips on how to stay safe when in the public. These events have confirmed that we still need to be cautious of our surroundings.
If you live in the Ohio area and have been a victim of a hate crime contact Bravo, 866-862-7286. BRAVO also has a helpline available for resources at the number above. Their helpline is staffed weekdays from 10AM to 4PM, and Sunday through Thursday from 6PM to 10PM. As I mentioned previously BRAVO also has self-defense classes available at various times. If you are interested in taking a class or having a safety workshop for your local group (whether its a euchre group, softball league or any other group) contact BRAVO. Services provided at BRAVO are free of charge.
You don’t have to live in Columbus or even Ohio to take a stand against gay violence. Even recently cities like New York City has seen an increase in their hate crimes as well. We are all in solidarity and together we can stand up against hate. I strongly believe that love will always conquer and defeat hate. A voice is a terrible thing to waste and for a survivor something they can struggle with as they recover and heal from the experience. Take a stand and help amplify their voice by wearing pink this Friday in support of the three men attacked in Columbus, as well as all the other survivors of hate crimes.
We will keep wearing pink, until we don’t need to. This conversation is one that will need to go further than Friday. Diligence is going to be key in helping to prevent another one of these senseless acts. The time has come for us to take care of each other, watch each others backs. Offer support and a helping hand when someone is in need, for we are all brothers and sisters. What makes our community so wonderful is the diversity, love and acceptance we share, as well as we all come together during a tragic event. We have a responsibility and no longer have the luxury of sitting on the sidelines because these hate crimes can happen to any of us. Until these crimes hit home, do we see how close they really are to us. Make a difference and be the change you want to see.
Lastly be alert and aware of your surroundings, travel in groups when possible especially during pride and at night. Always remember if you experience violence it isn’t your fault at all.
Join in the movement and help unite the LGBTQA community against hate and anti-gay violence. Continue this conversation well past Friday because hate won’t take a day off and neither will we!!!