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Columbus Kicks Off Pride Week By Honoring Local Advocate Letha Pugh


Columbus city leaders are launching their annual Pride Week celebrating the LGBTQ community. Unlike previous years, though, this week’s festivities will not include a parade, which has been delayed until October because of the ongoing pandemic.

The virtual events begin Monday night with Mayor Andrew Ginther, City Council President Shannon Hardin and City Auditor Megan Kilgore honoring Letha Pugh with the Steven Shellabarger Illuminator Award. It’s an annual recognition for outstanding initiatives promoting LGBTQ rights in the city.

Pugh, a Nebraska native, moved to Columbus in 2001 where she co-founded Black, Out And Proud, a group that advocates for the black LGBTQ community. 

Pugh owns Bake Me Happy, a Merion Village gluten-free bakery. Amid the economic instability of COVID-19, she also co-founded Service!, a relief organization that provides food for laid-off workers in the service industry. 

On Sunday, LGBTQ groups are hosting a unity march against racism and police brutality. Stonewall Columbus' annual Pride parade will be held October 3.

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly said the unity march would be held Saturday, not Sunday.

Debbie Holmes has worked at WOSU News since 2009. She has hosted All Things Considered, since May 2021. Prior to that she was the host of Morning Edition and a reporter.