Over the past three months, the LGBTQ Center OC Board of Directors and executive staff have engaged in a dialogue with Center staff, community members and stakeholders regarding our decision to allow uniformed police officers to march with us in the OC Pride parade. The dialogue has raised our awareness of the importance of continuing to bring more voices to the table and more diversity in thought and life experience to the decision making process. Our decision to allow uniformed police officers to march with us, may not have served our entire community. For those who felt further marginalized by our decision, we sincerely apologize. As leaders in anti-discrimination work, it is our responsibility to represent all members of the community—-especially the most marginalized — as well as to lift up racial equity. The Board and executive staff are committed to expanding representation to ensure our community stakeholders are included in co-creating the strategies that support our shared mission.
What we are doing now:
- The Center’s Executive Director has reached out to the Executive Directors of Resilience OC and VietRise to reinforce our organization’s commitment to serving the LGBTQQ immigrant community as well as our commitment to the partnerships we share with these organizations. Collaborations such as those shared by our three organizations are making positive change in Orange County. That change wouldn’t be possible without organizations like Resilience OC and VietRise leading the way. We remain inspired by their work and proud of our partnerships.
- The Center remains committed to further diversifying our Board of Directors. We have made huge strides in the past three years, but more diversity is needed. Our Board has recently added two new members. One is a well-respected member of the Trans Community and the other new member is a longstanding activist for the LGBTQQ movement, immigrant rights and women’s rights.
What we are doing in the next 30 days and going forward:
- The Board will seek to add a second youth seat, ideally to be filled by a youth of color. This youth seat will have full voting rights and no financial support requirement. One of the Center’s youth Board seats has historically been filled by a YETA representative, until last fiscal year. The Board strongly encourages members of YETA interested in Board membership to email email@example.com for an application.
- Additionally, the Board and executive staff invite members of YETA to a quarterly round table discussion. The focus will be a casual, open conversation about the needs, priorities and goals of your group, and your thoughts on partnership opportunities with the Center. Engaging on a regular basis will create an opportunity for the Board and YETA to get to know each other and to forge working relationships, with the added goal of building long lasting channels for open dialogue.
- The Center will form an Advisory Board consisting of representatives from every segment of our community. This Advisory Board will be a sounding board for Center leadership as they make critical decisions. Information pertaining to Advisory Board membership will be announced soon.
- The Center is looking at many ways to grow and learn from this experience and emerge as a better, more inclusive organization. We continue to listen and learn from others’ experiences and to this end, we will host ongoing community round tables with our stakeholders and community partners. Our first roundtable will be on Wednesday, October 16th, at 6:30pm. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to RSVP.
With all the challenges facing our community today, it has never been more important to stand together in unity. Your LGBTQ Center OC advocates for all LGBTQQ people and as we implement our framework for positive change, we will be better at representing everyone.
LGBTQ Center OC Board of Directors Peg Corley