Bay Area Deaf Community United Supporting DCARA Staff

There have been accusations shot at the DCARA Board due to their suspending Raymond Rogers so soon after an external incident towards another individual in the community who is a POC. This included the DCARA staff and their utilization of the DCARA platform to call the board out. Sam Holden was attacked by the DCARA Board President and since then, many things have unfolded. There are people that feel the vlog was personal and utilized DCARA platform inappropriately

Bay Area Black Deaf Advocates took it upon themselves to return fire towards DCARA due to the belief that the board is not just investigating Raymond, but also the whereabouts of Sam Holden. According to BABDA, a black individual who works for DCARA spoke up against the fact that Judy Gough remained in position of power after her attack. In the video that DCARA Staff released, they emphasized that Judy had used their platform (announcing she was the president of DCARA board) to attack a person of color in the community.

In their press release, BABDA made some allegations however they have said, “Bay Area Black Deaf Advocate board members had approved this resolution and will hire lawyer and an investigator to start investigating DCARA and their actions related to their racial motivations.” (BABDA Release). They have also formally announced that they will refuse to believe anything the independent investigator finds during their investigation for DCARA. “In closing, the Bay Area Black Deaf Advocate will formally reject the outcomes of the investigating report and will push for our investigation to ensure that community get the transparency it deserved from them.” (BABDA)

Many people in the community have tried to figure out what the investigation is about and the reason for removal of Raymond at this time temporarily. Others have stated that everybody needs to trust the board and their process. BABDA states that they believe that the investigation is about “Samuel Holden's whereabouts in order to gather the information to damage a Deaf Black Person.” (BABDA) The DCARA Board has not responded to these accusations and remain true to their belief that they must remain quiet about what’s going on due to current legal procedures in place.

Ella Mae Lentz made a 12 minute long vlog to explain very clearly that the board’s duties are to DCARA and nobody else. Their responsibilities are to focus on what the organization needs. If something were to go wrong with DCARA’s using of finances or the straying from their missions, nobody is going to blame anybody but the board. She also reminds people that Judy is not the only person part of the board, there are many people including Tom who clearly stated in his vlog that this a legal matter. It’s not time for people to speculate. Not only did she share this, she also shared a heartfelt statement that her family has been involved with DCARA since the beginning and that it is a very dear organization to her.

It is unclear whether everything is connected to the initial fiasco between Judy Gough and Sam Holden, however BABDA believes strongly that none of these investigations will bring out the truth and that Raymond Rogers is an innocent bystander brought into this gunfire due to his allyship for the POC community in the Bay Area. There are others that don’t think that Raymond is so innocent.

According to Directors and Board “How a skilled board should manage an internal investigation a board,” DCARA’s board has done the correct thing hiring an outside investigator to assist with serious investigations. The reason being, “Generally, to be considered truly independent, the investigation should be conducted by outside counsel that has not previously represented the company.” The same publication says that there shall be a special committee designated to oversee the investigation to help prevent any management/board members that are involved in the conflict from being involved or interfering with the investigation. It is extra important that DCARA ensures that if any of their board members have an conflict of interest in this incident (provided it is about Raymond and whatever reason he has been suspended) be removed from any and all meetings that are investigating.

Is it appropriate for BABDA to get involved in an internal investigation, no. (Outside organizations may not get involved in internal investigations unless invited due to legal implications.) However it is clear from the press release that BABDA believes that DCARA is practicing harmful behavior towards the POC community. In their letter they do state that they will be initiating an individual investigation on DCARA. It is important again, that they follow the standard expectations of non-profit organization behavior and ethics when having this investigation occur.

The California Association for the Deaf has spoken as of an hour ago and has collaborated with Several organizations to address concerns: California Association of the Deaf, California Latinx Deaf Advocates, Bay Area Black Deaf Advocates (BABDA), Bay Area Asian Deaf Association, and DeafHope. Recently a situation happened at Deaf Counseling, Referral, and Advocacy Agency (DCARA). A movement has begun using the hashtag #SupportDCARAstaff