Tuesday, April 8, 2014

GMHC CEO search committee diversity controversy triggers protest

GMHC's search for a new CEO is clouded in secrecy with no input from the agency's clients, activists say

Roberta Kaplan Paul Weiss GMHC Diversity Scandal photo Roberta-Kaplan-Paul-Weiss-GMHC-scandal_zpsdbc92bba.jpg

Members of the Consumer Advisory Board, a committee representing clients served by Gay Men's Health Crisis, made an appeal to GMHC's CEO search committee's leader, Paul Weiss partner Roberta Kaplan, "to include black and Latino voices" on the search committee, DNAinfo New York reported, but Ms. Kaplan "brushed them off."

Activists and clients plan to protest outside GMHC offices on Thursday at 1:30 p.m., demanding justice and transparency by GMHC's CEO search committee and by the agency's Board of Directors.

Over a year ago, leaders from New York City's Ballroom community and other activists launched a protest campaign against the agency's former GMHC CEO, Marjorie Hill, for exploiting New York's Ballroom community and for leaving the agency in a financial mess.

Ms. Hill was fired from GMHC the same year that New York City voters rejected former New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn's mayoral campaign. After a recent press article reported that former Speaker Quinn, who never delivered any transformative reform for people with AIDS, much less never established a comprehensive city agenda on HIV/AIDS, was being considered for the CEO position, the report triggered a swift backlash of outrage amongst activists. Some activists alleged that Ms. Kaplan, a leading QUILTBAG civil rights attorney and close political ally of Ms. Quinn, was trying to rescue Ms. Quinn's public career at the expense of the agency's critical mission. In the last year, New York QUILTBAG activists have become emboldened to demand real change everywhere from city government to leading HIV/AIDS service organizations, and activists are not going to take anymore empty rhetoric or false promises for change, not even from fake leaders from within the GUILTBAG community. There's no more patience for that.

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