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Stonewall Columbus Director Announces Retirement

Walker Evans Walker Evans Stonewall Columbus Director Announces RetirementStonewall Executive Director Karla Rothan addresses a crowd following a community conversation event last summer — Photo by Lauren Sega.
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After 11 years in the position, Karla Rothan announced yesterday afternoon that she would be retiring from service as the Executive Director of Stonewall Columbus. The announcement comes on the heels of the February 12 guilty sentencing of members of the Black Pride 4 — Wriply Bennet, Kendall Denton, Ashley Braxton and Deandre Miles — who were involved in a protest and arrested during the 2017 Pride Parade, hosted by Stonewall.

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The full letter to the community can be found below:

Dear Friends:

Eleven years ago, I was given the opportunity and immense responsibility to lead Stonewall Columbus. Although I was always a big fan and supporter of the organization, I was not the most likely candidate to lead it. I came from an arts and public relations background and I never really saw myself going down this path, but what a beautiful journey it has been. I always wanted to have a job that helped to enrich the lives of others and make a difference. You all can probably imagine that today is a day of mixed emotions for me as I announce my retirement as your director. It has truly been the honor and privilege of a lifetime to serve this organization.

We have had so much success together! We rebuilt an organization teetering on the brink of bankruptcy and brought it back to viability, hosted a Pride Festival and March that has grown to become the largest in the Midwest, touched and changed the lives of so many with our nationally-recognized programs and created deep long-lasting connections with other nonprofit social service organizations around our city that are dedicated to providing care for those in need.

Over the coming weeks, I will be working with the Board of Trustees to develop the parameters and roles where I can best serve Stonewall during this transition, including fundraising and development efforts, and the construction and opening of our new center. During my transition, the Board of Trustees will actively be conducting a nationwide search for the next generation of leadership for Stonewall Columbus. I will work with the Board of Trustees to determine the best transition plan for this to occur by the end of this year.

I am ready to serve our community in new and different ways and will deeply miss this amazing organization and its countless volunteers, participants, allies, supporters, and staff. I am so proud of our passionate efforts and I am confident that our hard work will benefit many generations to come. It has truly been an honor to serve Stonewall Columbus and I look forward to a successful year for all of us.

With Deepest Gratitude,

Karla R. Rothan
Executive Director
Stonewall Columbus

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