Gallery: People’s State of the City Rally Asks ‘Where is Mayor Ginther?’
Tuesday evening saw the gathering of local activist organizations outside the Bluestone on East Broad Street, where Mayor Andrew Ginther, members of Columbus City Council, and the Columbus Partnership were having their donor dinner.
PJP member Amber Evans, who led the rally, described the Columbus Partnership as “a string of corporations, of businesses, of health insurance companies, of even the library system, that has come together to figure out how to build a Columbus that is young, that is white, that is professional, that can afford $500 to $5,000 dinner.”
According to leaders of the rally, which represented a range of groups, including the People’s Justice Project, Showing Up For Racial Justice (SURJ), Central Ohio Worker Center, Yes We Can, Ohio Revolution, and others, the dinner had a price tag of between $500 and $5,000 per plate.
“Can you afford that?” Evans asked the crowd of roughly 70 protestors, who instead indulged in free “People’s Love pizza.”
“No!” they answered in unison.
The following speeches and chants taunted dinner attendees and their “friendship” with Ginther, who, activists claim, has made himself unavailable to low-income and minority communities in Columbus. Their grievances revolved around specific instances of police brutality, citing the police killings of Ty’re King, Henry Green, and Jaron Thomas. Community issues like rising rent, failing schools, food insecurity and infant mortality were also highlighted as problems caused by a government that serves only wealthy corporate donors.
Columbus Public Safety Director Ned Pettus Jr. momentarily engaged with the crowd, but was quickly run off by their chants.
“Where have you been?” Evans asked over the megaphone. “Are you willing to hold Mayor Ginther accountable, ban the jump out boys, and end the Community Safety Initiative, and fire Officer Rosen?”
Officer Zachary Rosen earned a non-indictment in the killing of Henry Green, 23. In April, shortly after the non-indictment was announced, Rosen was seen on video, kicking a restrained black resident in the head. He’s since been moved to a non-patrolling position.
“There are people that need to be off the streets, but at the same time, we have officers that need to be off the streets, and they need to be sitting in those cells with the rest of the people that are a danger to our society as well,” said Adrienne Hood, mother of Henry Green.
One of the demands of those rallying was for Rosen’s termination, as well as that of Officer Bryan Mason, who shot 13-year-old Ty’re King, and Police Chief Kim Jacobs.
Their other demands include “banning the jump out boys,” or plainclothes officers, and ending the Community Safety Initiative, once called the Summer Strike Force. The rally ended with the assembling of a wish list detailing the needs of a safe, healthy community, to be delivered to Ginther.