Black woman talking into a mic

Adrienne Hood
Photo by Ralph Orr

When Adrienne Hood joined protests on the downtown streets in the wake of the George Floyd murder, she was there mainly for her son, Henry Green, who was killed by two plainclothes Columbus police officers in 2016 who remain on the force.

“When I go into those spaces, I try to mentally prepare myself in the event I do see them. Because you just never know,” said Adrienne to the Free Press. “I don’t get into things just for the sake of being in something. I am looking to push this needle to where we need to be.”

Adrienne spent several nights and days downtown this summer protesting for her son. She has remained strong and resilient despite the tragedy her family endured four years ago. She has moved from protest to using her power to make positive change. This spring she joined #RepYourBlock and was elected as a Franklin County Central Committee member representing Ward 54.

Adrienne hopes to bring “fresh ideals and challenge systemic issues” within the Democratic Party. She feels her biggest accomplishment in the community is “encouraging people to be involved that have never thought about this level of engagement, especially with my family and friends. My hope is I'll be instrumental in continuing to apply pressure to push for a thriving, safe community for us ALL.”

The Free Press is proud to make Adrienne the recipient of this year’s “Libby” Award for community activism. She is an inspiration to everyone in the activist community. The award is named for former Free Press editor Libby Gregory, known for her feminist activism and entrepreneurship, who lost her life in 1991 in an airplane accident.

Adrienne had always been concerned about police brutality against African Americans, yet remained mostly on the sidelines. But after her son’s death she soon realized local activists, total strangers – many with the People’s Justice Project – were mobilizing at the Franklin County Courthouse demanding answers from police and City officials about her son.

“When I got down there, Amber (Evans, RIP) was down there, Ms. Tammy (Fournier Alsaada) was down there,” she said. “I had the blessing to meet Amber and everyone else. From that meeting my activism really grew from there. I don’t think I had ever protested before then. To see people and how they came out, it was a Godsend.”

Amber and others inspired her resolve and commitment.

“If it wasn’t for them the awareness in our community would not be the same. Even if I took my sign and sat on a corner by myself, or me and my family, the impact would not be the same if wasn’t for the community involvement,” she said. “For those on the other side, even if we don’t change their minds, they still have to hear what’s going on. To at least consider this is where we need to be.”

Adrienne understands those protesters who took their emotions too far by breaking windows and vandalizing. But she was disappointed.

“I understand when you get to the point where you feel like, ‘What else is there to do?’ But then it gives a win to those in the position to make the laws. Our focus should be that we need to up-seat these individuals. To get the changes we need. Your time is up. Get out of the seat.”

Adrienne is currently working for a local defense contractor and is a veteran of the US Army. She has also served in the Air Force Reserve since 2004 and her military career is nearing retirement. She has spent many a weekend at Wright-Patterson in Dayton. Her long military career has given her the rank of Master Sergeant over most men who also serve at the iconic Air Force base.

“Some don’t do well with female direction, and then you compound that with being a black female, it can become an issue. I told my mom, ‘This base is one of the most good ole’ boy bases I have ever been a part of.’”

Her mom would have nothing to do with her quitting.

“My mom was the one who told me, ‘You let no man decide your future. If this is what you want, you go for it.’ Had she not said that I was getting to the point of washing my hands of my military career.”

Adrienne, a member of True Love Ministries in North Linden, says while local activists gave her a hand up, her spirituality has also been a source of strength to deal with her son’s tragedy.

“I can tell y’all there is nothing accomplished without hard work and we have to have grit with this type of situation because it’s not going to be given to us easily,” she said. “Keep this in your mind as we move forward…there’s no win that we are going to get without hard work. And even though it gets discouraging for me, I don’t look at this with my natural eye. Because I know there is a battle bigger than me that God has already taken care of. So, we have to walk in this. And we have to walk in this together. We need all of us on the battlefield.”