DCARA reinstates Raymond Rodgers as executive director

Here is a major update with the DCARA situation — Raymond Rodgers was reinstated to his Executive Director position.

The Facebook page “Accountability Now DCARA,” which focuses on providing updates on the DCARA staff’s demands and protests, posted a picture of Rodgers smiling while holding a paper.

DCARA staffer AnnLynn Parker said the paper officially ends the 89 days of struggle ever since Rodgers was placed on paid administrative leave.

Also last night the current DCARA board signed an agreement to end their terms by September 17.

It is a big turnaround for DCARA, as just last week the DCARA board announced they terminated Rodgers and hired an interim executive director, Brian Lucas. That sparked controversy because Lucas was accused of sexual assault, which he has denied, and was blocked by DCARA staff from entering the building. The next day, Lucas said that he was no longer with DCARA.

On Friday, five members of the DCARA board posted a vlog to apologize for former board president Judy Gough’s inappropriate vlog in February, the length of the investigation time, the selection of Lucas, and for causing anxiety and frustration.

Last night the Bay Area Black Deaf Advocates live-streamed a public meeting at DCARA. Almost all of the major people involved in the DCARA controversy were in the room.

Note that this whole situation started after the former DCARA Board President Judy Gough made a personal vlog in early February directed at the NorCAL Board President Sam Holden, who is African-American. Gough suggested that he was a drug user and said that his daughter was adopted. She took down the vlog, but several who saw it said it was racist and demanded action against Gough.

Last night during the live-streaming, board member Jerry Grigsby explained that the board was not aware of the vlog or the situation until they were confronted about it by Rosa Lee Timm, the marketing director with DCARA, and the DCARA POC committee. The meeting took place on February 22nd. Grigsby said it was an unfriendly meeting and that the board later found out that Rodgers already knew there was a situation, but did not notify the board about it.

Grigsby said they then suspended Rodgers and called for an investigation. He said the board determined that Gough violated the board’s bylaws and asked her to resign, and she agreed to.

Grigsby said after the investigation was over, they saw that there were multiple issues on what happened in February. They then met with Rodgers and made him an offer to come back with certain conditions, but said he did not accept it so they asked him to leave.

Grigsby later said Rodgers was dismissed because he did not follow bylaws in the communication process between the staff, the executive director, and the board — that Rodgers allowed the staff to complain directly to the board.

Rosa Lee Timm and Rodgers then took the stage. Timm said it was the first time in a long time they have heard directly from the board. Timm said the staff were not the ones who made the initial complaint about Gough’s vlog, but that it came from people in the community.

Timm said Rodgers encouraged her to discuss it with Gough, but that there were authority issues with her being a staffer and Gough being a board president. This caused delays of several days that frustrated the POC committee within DCARA.

Timm said the staff decided to directly confront the board about this without giving them advance warning. She said Rodgers decided to take a back seat in this and allowed them to take the lead because he was a white man. Rodgers confirmed this and said he helped to establish ground rules for the meeting.

Timm said on the meeting on February 22, the POC committee sat directly across from the board and made a list of demands, with several of them very strong demands. Timm said Gough responded in a beautiful way and said she would resign, but that two board members defended Gough, and made racist remarks. Timm said the POC committee realized that the entire board needed to go.

Rodgers then took the stage. He explained that he had meetings with Gough prior to February 22 to try and resolve the issue, but felt awkward with it because she was her boss and that there was no process in place in the bylaws for this specific issue. He said he wanted the staff to bring it directly to the board.

Grigsby then took the stage and said it was clear that there are many things that the board and the staff can work together on to improve on for a better future. He said the board would undergo training to become more sensitive and knowledgable.

There were multiple community members who came up onstage to criticize the board members. Grigsby and other board members responded to them by either acknowledging their comments or apologizing.

After this, two meeting facilitators who used to be DCARA board presidents came up onstage to announce a written agreement between DCARA Board and Rodgers and the staff/management team.

The agreement was that Rodgers would come back as executive director without any conditions, that Liann Osborne would take over as interim board president, and that the current board members’ terms would be terminated on September 17, 2019 with new board members sworn in, including members from community organizations.

Gough then took the stage. She said prior to her vlog on February 10, she had been holding down emotions for several months. She said her son was taken to the hospital several times because he tried to commit suicide.

Note: this has to do with Gough’s son being involved in online debates about LEAD-K and their working relationship with AG Bell.

Gough said she felt like she was not doing anything to defend her son so she made a vlog to address Sam Holden, who was and still is the board president of NorCal, another organization where LEAD-K is also based in. Gough said she later took down the vlog and apologized to Holden the day after, but received no response.

There was a confrontation between Gough and a man that appeared to be Xman Ackerman, a leader within BABDA. Others stepped in to stop them from talking to each other.

Gough said she was not a bad woman and said she was the one who called the lawyer. She said she loved DCARA and resigned to try and resolve the issue. She said she has donated a lot of money to the DCARA organization and that people have no reason to be mad or to hate her.

The LIVE video ended there.

So, this is a long recap of what happened with the DCARA situation and the meeting last night. In short — Rodgers is back as executive director and the current board will end their terms in September. This meets the major demands from the DCARA staff, for Rodgers to be back and for the board to resign. The staff has been protesting in multiple ways for almost 90 days.

Accountability Now DCARA Post: http://bit.ly/2Hw2Bik

Bay Area Black Deaf Advocates Livestream: http://bit.ly/2JYcW8n

TDM Report about DCARA from last week: https://www.facebook.com/TheDailyMoth/videos/714112469005334/

DCARA Board Apologizes: http://bit.ly/2VWOdsc