Students march for LGBTQ rights

On the corner of Fifth and Vine at Fountain Square in downtown Cincinnati, over 350 people, including Northern Kentucky University students, gathered to participate in the Marriage Equality Protest Nov. 5.

Adam Hoover, a 17-year-old Harrison High School student, originally posted the event via Facebook.
“Everyone has their God-given right to marry the one they love,” Hoover said.

Hoover decided to create the event after attending a gay pride parade in May. He hoped to create an atmosphere that was accepting to all.
NKY Equality Now, a LGBTQ activist group on campus, was one of the many sponsors for the Marriage Equality Protest.
The protesters marched about a half mile from Fountain Square to the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.

Upon arriving, the protesters listened to speakers such as Chris Seelbach, a candidate for Cincinnati City Council; Michael Loch, president of NKY Equality Now; and Bianca Mitchell, an officer in NKY Equality Now.

Mitchell asked if America still stands by its foundations: “When I think of America, I think of ‘land of the free, home of the brave,’ the country of dreamers. Why aren’t our dreams being welcomed?”

Bishop Heckman of The Reformed Catholic Church in Cincinnati also attended and asked of the audience, “How many more kids are going to kill themselves?”
According to the National Youth Association, “LGBTQ kids are four times more likely to attempt suicide then their straight peers.”

Despite the serious nature of the protest, the attendees appeared jovial and united.

Loch called on the participants to hold hands by saying, “Feel that connection you have. And I want you to hold on to that feeling now in the days, weeks, months, years that follow this protest. That is the force that will push us to bend that moral arc towards equality and justice for all a reality.”

After the speakers finished, the crowd made their way back to Fountain Square, where they proceeded to march around the downtown area. A clamor of support was echoed by passersby, who honked car horns and yelled words of encouragement.

“Our message in 2011, Greater Cincinnati, Ohio, America is taking a stand for what is right and we will not shut up and we will not stand down,” Loch said.