Community Alert - We are Stronger Than Hate

Aaron Eckhardt - Tuesday, February 28, 2017

BRAVO is issuing the following alert for the safety of the LGBTQI Communities of Central Ohio

February 28, 2017

We Are Stronger Than Hate

The Buckeye Region Anti-Violence Organization (BRAVO) would like to encourage the LGBTQI community to be extra aware of their surroundings over the first week of March.

Whenever there is a large influx of people visiting our city for various events, as is the case when any large event comes to the Greater Columbus Convention Center, there is also an increased possibility of violence. It remains important that we not associate violence with any one event; however, it has been reported multiple times by media and law enforcement that there seems to be an increase in human trafficking and associated violence during the Arnold Classic, which is one of the largest events in the Midwest. There will be a lot of new faces in the crowd, especially in the downtown and Short North areas. The vast majority of people are here to have a good time in our great city and enjoy the hospitality Columbus has to offer; nonetheless, there may be people looking to do harm as well.

Read the full text of the BRAVO Media Release here


Ohio Connection

Aaron Eckhardt - Monday, February 27, 2017


BRAVO staff recently had the opportunity to visit The Cocoon, an agency and shelter serving survivors of domestic and sexual violence here in Ohio. We made the trip to connect and train a new volunteer who, as it turns out, became the first ever satellite HelpLine team member! We were welcomed by staff members and the Executive Director, Michelle Clossick, and were provided with a complete overview of The Cocoon’s expansions, new building space, and heard first hand of The Cocoon’s commitment to creating a space for survivors that is inclusive to all gender identities.

The Cocoon lives in Wood County, in the northwest corner of the state. They share the neighborhood with Bowling Green State University and are surrounded by the corn and soy bean fields that moat most of our prominent cities and metropolitan centers. In addition to a 24-hour crisis hotline, The Cocoon offers advocacy, support, and emergency safe housing for survivors. They are currently in the process of expanding into a new space, and it incidentally brought to mind an actual cocoon. The building is discreet from an onlooker’s perspective but inside there is powerful energy, intention, and a strong team of voices united behind the cause of empowering those impacted by domestic violence and sexual assault.

BRAVO serves all of Ohio and in doing this have the privilege of staying connected and working alongside agencies, like The Cocoon, who are fiercely serving their communities in remarkable ways. Reaching out to connect with agencies who serve minority communities, communities of color, and LGBTQ agencies can be a great way to get connected. As the political climate continues to shift, support for these populations becomes as important as ever.

If you’d like to learn more about opportunities to volunteer here at BRAVO, email Will Varnum or call our local number during office hours: (614) 294-7867.

Take good care,

Will Varnum




BRAVO mourns the loss of JoJo Striker in Toledo, Ohio

Aaron Eckhardt - Thursday, February 16, 2017

BRAVO (Buckeye Region Anti-Violence Organization) responds to the homicide of JoJo Striker, a 23-year-old transgender woman of color killed in Toledo, Ohio on February 8, 2017.


Reports indicate that JoJo was found dead in north Toledo. BRAVO is working with Toledo area organizations and individuals throughout Ohio to offer our assistance in supporting JoJo’s family, friends, and community during this difficult time.

According to media sources, Toledo Police have not released information about the motivation or identified a suspect at this time. At BRAVO we know then even when no motive is yet known, given the ongoing prevalence of violence faced by transgender/gender non-conforming people here in Ohio and nationwide, the possibility of hate motivation regarding her gender identity must always be considered.

Read the full text of the BRAVO Media Release here




Aaron Eckhardt - Wednesday, February 01, 2017

BRAVO is issuing the following alert for the safety of the LGBTQI  Communities of Ohio

February 1, 2017

In the past week BRAVO has been made aware directly and via social media of recent reports of hate/bias violence and harassment of LGBTQI individuals.Some of the known incidents occurred in the local area of the Short North in Columbus, OH. There is a heightened sense of fear and seeming increase in these types of incidents in the past few weeks. BRAVO is here to help. It is never your fault if someone chooses to cause harm.

As we continue to look toward tomorrow and beyond, we know we are all individually part of something much larger than ourselves. We must continue to illuminate oppression, hatred, and violence in all its forms. We are not alone. Remaining steadfast in solidarity with one another, we draw upon these connections for hope and action. We will work tirelessly, continuously moving ourselves into the fight for justice and acceptance everywhere. In the past weeks, we continue to be tested, as we have been so many countless times before, and just as many of us feel drained, tired, and overwhelmed, may we all find that our capacity to love and to care for each other may continue to grow.

Don't Take It… Report It! has been a mantra for all 20 years BRAVO has been working to provide life-saving and affirming services to LGBTQI survivors of violence across the state of Ohio. We are asking for your assistance. If you have been the victim of, or are aware of, hate/bias and/or harassment incidents please contact BRAVO at 614-294-7867 or 1-866-86-BRAVO. We can provide advocacy and crisis support services when needed and wanted. We are also keeping track of such incidents so we can continue to provide services and response when needs arise. These reports help BRAVO and help our collective communities.

If you or anyone you know have experienced violence, contact BRAVO - we can help! 614-294-7867 or 866-86-BRAVO.

All reports to BRAVO are confidential and may be made anonymously. All BRAVO services are free.


Don’t Take It… Report It!

BRAVO works to eliminate violence perpetrated on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identification, domestic violence and sexual assault through prevention, education, advocacy, violence documentation and survivor services, both within and on behalf of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender communities.

BRAVO is a proud founding member of the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP)