Joe Motil

The Free Press is pleased to announce that we will honor Joe Motil with our 2022 “Libby” award for Lifetime Achievement in Community Activism. Each year, the board of the Columbus Institute for Contemporary Journalism (CICJ), the nonprofit organization that publishes the Columbus Free Press, chooses a local activist for the award.

We will honor Joe at the Free Press October Second Saturday Salon and Award event this Saturday, October 8 between 6:30-8:30pm at Mozart’s Café party room in Clintonville, 4784 N. High Street. The event is free and open to the public.

The CICJ board chose Joe for his dedication to social justice, in the spirit of the award’s namesake, Libby Gregory. Libby was a former Free Press editor, local entrepreneur, and activist for peace, women’s issues and human rights. Joe is a courageous and tenacious advocate for affordable housing, livable wages, public health issues, green space, mass transit, and democracy.

He is well-known in the Columbus community as the man at nearly every Columbus City Council meeting, mainly calling attention to the councilmembers’ relationships with developers, generous tax abatements and policies that ignore low-to-middle-income and houseless people in the city. Most recently, Joe was part of a group that was arrested for setting up a houseless camp on City Council President Shannon Hardin’s front lawn.

Joe is a lifelong resident of Columbus and has more than three decades of city-wide community involvement. He worked in the construction and safety field as both a blue-collar laborer and a white-collar professional. He works for positive neighborhood development, as is evident from the positions he’s held including University Area Commissioner and Zoning Chairman, Clintonville Area Commissioner, Vice-Chair of the Columbus Historic Resources Commission, Executive Committee member of Columbus NAACP, Friends of the Lower Olentangy Watershed (FLOW) board, and president of the Tuttle Park CRC.

He is a musician, avid bike rider, coach and has run for the Ohio House of Representatives and Columbus City Council. One of his future plans is to become Columbus’ next mayor.