Ruben Castilla Herrera remembered

Local News

A community remembers a Columbus civil-rights activist who passed unexpectedly.

Ruben Castilla Herrera’s memorial saw hundreds packing the pews of the Broad Street United Methodist Church. 

Kevin Wilds had to say goodbye to a 27-year-long friendship. “Just missing a great friend. He was just a giant amongst men and God has a great angel,” said Wilds.

He and Ruben Castilla Herrera met after joining a group called Diversity of Ohio.

“We were a LGBTQ advocacy group for brown and black people that [had been] marginalized. Ruben was one of those people. He embraced people. He didn’t meet a stranger,” said Wilds.

Luster Singleton said he’d quickly learned that about Herrera. “I met him back in the 80’s. He was the first of-color, brown skin, gay-identify practicing Christian who has children still, that I ever met,” said Singleton.

He found that inspiring. Herrera touched all of these people and more though his activism for the LGBTQ community and people of color.

Herrera had been a leader with the Columbus Sanctuary Collective — and this is the church where Miriam Vargas sought sanctuary — since last year. And Herrera supported her.

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