Atlanta’s advocacy community is grieving the death of Catherine Han Montoya, a human rights activist who was the victim of an April 13 homicide.
Montoya, who described herself as a “Queer Chicana Korean Feminist,” represented a number of causes, including LGBT rights, immigration policy and Asian-Pacific Islander issues.
Her activist work in Atlanta included numerous organizations, including the Southeast Immigrant Rights Network, which she co-founded.
Montoya was found strangled in what police describe as a home invasion at her East Atlanta residence during an apparent multi-county crime spree.
A McDonough man, Donte Lamar Wyatt, has been arrested and charged with Montoya’s murder, according to The Georgia Voice.
On “A Closer Look,” Ellen Buchman, vice president for field operations at The Leadership Conference on Human and Civil Rights, talked about her long association with Montoya and the activist’s broad reach in Atlanta and beyond.
Montoya – who also included her devotion to the Denver Broncos football team as part of her self-identity – won people over with her warmth and humor, Buchman said.
“She had a way of making people feel like they were the only one in the room,” Buchman said. “She had a way of connecting with people where they are."
“There are thousands of people if not more than that who had this experience with her, and probably not just nationwide, but probably internationally.”
Friends and fellow activists have raised more than $50,000 for funeral expenses and to assist Montoya’s family, and they’re continuing their fundraising efforts.
They’ve also posted remembrances on a special Facebook page, SEEDS of Love, devoted to Montoya’s memory.