Over the weekend, the Ohio progressive community lost a dear friend all too soon to a tragic accident. Adrienne Gavula, 35, worked for the ACLU of Ohio and served as a steadfast board member, volunteer, and activist in the struggle for reproductive freedom.

A memorial will be held on Friday, September 8th at 6pm at The Ohio State University College of Social Work, Stillman Hall. Parking is available in the Arps garage across the street. All are welcome to attend.

Read the ACLU’s touching tribute to Adrienne below, as well as several statements from organizations impacted by her life and witness. Love and light to all the family and friends who mourn Adrienne’s untimely passing and honor her memory during this difficult time.


ACLU of Ohio:
Adrienne Gavula, a longtime colleague, passionate civil libertarian, and friend—passed away unexpectedly on September 2, 2017. Adrienne began working for the ACLU of Ohio in 2004, and later served as regional office director of our Columbus office and then development director…Adrienne’s life taught us much about empathy, courage, and determination. She always believed in the basic decency of every person, and never lost hope for a better world. Read more.

Women Have Options - Ohio:
We are deeply saddened to share with you that our friend Adrienne Gavula died in a car accident last night. She served as the Women Have Options - Ohio board chair fiercely for many years and at a crucial time in our organization. She continued to serve as a volunteer. We wouldn't be where we are today without her dedication and advocacy. More than that though, she was a dear friend and I (Stephanie Sherwood, Executive Director) am having a difficult time coming up with the words to describe the deep hole in my heart and, I'm sure, in all of our hearts. She was so full of life and love for justice. She dedicated her life to making the world a more just place and will be deeply missed.

NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio:
Our entire staff is heartbroken to learn of the passing of Adrienne Gavula. She was a tireless advocate for reproductive rights; women's health care; and Ohio's largest abortion fund, Women Have Options - Ohio. As a social worker and a regional director for ACLU of Ohio, she showed her deep commitment and passion for doing the hard work she understood was necessary. She was self-sacrificing, effective, and wise. Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family and all who loved her during this difficult time, and we will work each day to continue her legacy and commitment to preserving and protecting the rights of all.

ROOTT (Restoring Our Own Through Transformation):
We are deeply saddened by the passing of Adrienne Gavula, a true ally/accomplice noted in her professional and personal life. In her work with the ACLU, Women Have Options, and supporter of ROOTT, Adrienne demonstrated the fortitude, conviction, integrity, and commitment through action and willingness to learn and grow. Our collective hearts go out to her family, friends, community, and colleagues in understanding that none of these were separate for her. In the midst of this tragedy, we at ROOTT will continue to move forward in our commitment to Reproductive Justice and Freedom, always remembering and honoring those who have come before us and walked along with us in the struggle, in spirit and direct action.

National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Ohio:
We are distressed to share that social worker Adrienne Gavula died in a car accident on Saturday. Prior to her role as development manager at The ACLU of Ohio, Adrienne built the power of social work in our state as the relationship manager and associate director of NASW Ohio Chapter. In her two years at the Chapter, Adrienne revitalized our organizing efforts, mobilizing hundreds of social workers to advocate for state issues and developing member services now considered indispensable. Wielding her expertise in public relations and deep commitment to social justice, Adrienne advocated fiercely to change systems of oppression. Saying "it was an honor" cannot sufficiently encapsulate what it was like to work with Adrienne. She was our comrade, our mentor, and our friend. She will be missed greatly.