A beloved LGBT activist was killed Monday in a crime spree that crossed two counties. Friends and loved ones are now raising funds to help her wife and to support the equality movement.
Catherine Han Montoya, who lived with her wife, Meredith, on Shadowridge Drive in East Atlanta, was allegedly killed in her home by Donte Lamar Wyatt on April 14. Wyatt is also the suspect in the stabbing of a woman in a Henry County Waffle House parking lot earlier in the day.
A YouCaring.com fundraising site has been set up to raise $50,000 to help her wife as well as with funeral expenses.
From the fundraiser page:
To know Catherine Han Montoya was to love her, because you couldn’t help but feel her love for us, for the people, and for the world. She was a shining star in our movement, a tireless champion for immigrant rights, for AAPI women’s rights, for racial and LGBTQ justice. She spoke truth to power with a smile and laughter, and lovingly challenged us all to be our better selves.
Now as we mourn that Cathy was so tragically taken from us all, we must come together as she would have wanted us to, and fight through our broken hearts and sadness, to honor Cathy by doing what we can to support her wife Meredith and family. Let’s think about how Cathy, the self-described “Queer Chicana Korean Feminist (and Broncos fan),” dedicated herself to working for justice, while remaining so full of life and joy. Let’s think about how selflessly she threw herself into the task at hand – whether in co-founding the Southeast Immigrant Rights Network, helping the Alabama Coalition for Immigrant Justice organize against HB56, empowering the grassroots while working at the ACLU, Leadership Conference for Civil & Human Rights, National Council of La Raza, or co-founding the first National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum chapter in the South— never losing sight of her vision of elevating the voices of the oppressed, and building power of immigrant families and communities across the South.
Let’s honor Cathy by stepping up and answering the call. Please donate to help support Meredith and their family. Funds will go towards helping with funeral costs and to supporting Cathy’s deepest loves: her family and the movement.
A Facebook page named SEEDS of Love has also been set up to memorialize Montoya.
11Alive reports that the crime spree began Monday when Donte Wyatt stabbed his wife in the parking lot of a Stockbridge Waffle House. He then drove to Atlanta in a rented truck and broke into Montoya’s home on Shadowridge Drive and killed her.
Police tracked him to the home but he was able to escape in Montoya’s car before crashing it a short distance later and running away. He ran into another home about a mile away where the homeowner called police from upstairs. Her bulldog was able to deter Wyatt from coming upstairs.
Police were able to rescue the homeowner while Wyatt was in the basement and after a four-hour standoff with police lobbing tear gas into the house, he ran out and into police custody.
Montoya was the director of field immigration and capacity-building initiatives at the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and the Leadership Conference Education Fund, and was also co-chair of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum.
Tributes poured in on Twitter as word started to spread about Montoya’s death.
— ingrid cruz (@IngridQCJ) April 14, 2015
— Luna Yasui (@lyasui) April 15, 2015
— Colorado Immigrant (@CIRCimmigrant) April 15, 2015
— jes rooks (@jesrooks) April 15, 2015
— NEO Philanthropy (@neodifference) April 15, 2015
— NAPAWF (@NAPAWF) April 15, 2015
— CultureStrike (@CultureStrike) April 14, 2015
— ColoradoLatinoForum (@COLatinoForum) April 14, 2015
#CathyMontoya thank you for being a role model to me and many others fighting for civil and human rights. You will be missed. Rest in peace.
— Eduardo García (@itseddie) April 14, 2015
— Juhu Thukral (@juhuthukral) April 14, 2015