Published on June 20th, 2018 | by Terra Goodnight


Columbus Moms Arrested To Challenge Portman On Child Detention

After a statewide campaign to call Senator Rob Portman failed to get him to support a bill to end family separation, four Central Ohio moms yesterday risked arrest to call attention to his failure to act.

Members of local resistance groups organized a 4pm rally outside the Portman office in downtown Columbus, and with media cameras present, organizer Mia Lewis announced that four moms had gone upstairs and were “prepared to stay overnight and get arrested, if necessary.” Lewis then read a statement (read the full statement) demanding that Portman “immediately join as co-sponsor for Senator Feinstein’s bill to Keep Families Together.” 

As it turned out, only three of the moms made it upstairs, thanks to the Senator’s limit on how many constituents may visit his office at a single time. Another staged a sit-in in the building lobby. A fifth participant joined the sit-in but was able to leave the building without arrest. 

Two hours later, at the scheduled 6pm office closing time, Columbus police moved into place, but with news cameras rolling, they pulled back for reasons organizers assume had to do with not having the arrests aired live on the 6:00 news broadcast. Around 6:45, officers pulled a van into the building’s gaarage and sent officers inside to begin making arrests.

Three protestors shared this video from upstairs as police entered the building and one protestor staging a sit-in in the lobby had already been arrested:

And here is the scene of protesters — two moms and two grandmothers — being taken to local jail for processing to the sound of cheers and applause:

According to the Dispatch, the four women were arrested on charges of criminal trespassing and were taken to the Franklin County Correctional Facility at Jackson Pike. All had court appearances this morning and await release.

Rachel Maddow picked up the story just hours later, running a segment that featured the Ohio moms’ act of civil disobedience. Watch:

In a week that included protestors – including the one participant in the Portman action who was not arrested – interrupting a speech by Vice President Pence and staging an LGBT dance party that gained national attention, Columbus is showing other cities the way to keep up the resistance.

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About the Author

Terra Goodnight does Policy Research and Digital Organizing for Innovation Ohio, a progressive-leaning research and advocacy nonprofit in Columbus. She also runs a few Twitter accounts and had earlier careers in state and local government and private sector technology consulting.

One Response to Columbus Moms Arrested To Challenge Portman On Child Detention

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