DCARA Community Protest #AccountabilitynowDCARA

April 10, 2019 - The DCARA protest featured some very powerful messages including one from Jac Cook. “if a hearing organization had a board member that did something like this, media would’ve caught wind of this and immediately that person would’ve been terminated.” Jac proceeds to talk about the importance of accountability in the community and responsibility of the community in making sure that our representation is true to our values. Standing up there with Jac was Lorraine Flores, a community member of 26 years.

The Board still has not responded to the community and Jac wanted to clarify that Judy is the one in the wrong and that’s where accountability needs to lie. During the protest, it was announced that on March 28 Susan Gonzales received a message saying that the board did a secret vote to terminate Raymond Rogers without allowing the investigation to be concluded.

It was also pointed out that the POC committee was sent an email to “Stop asking the board to resign and stop encouraging the community to get involved.” Ironically this was only sent to the POC committee and nobody else in DCARA.

Fatima Currimbhoy the interpreting manager shared the emotional toll that it has taken on her hearing that Raymond is being terminated, “torn and destroyed because the board voted to terminate Raymond and did not give us any reason why.“ Maria emphasized that “[the] board has no idea how involved Raymond has been with the community.“

Cook thanked the POC committee for sharing their stories because to share is to relive the experience. This trauma is ongoing for them. Many white people are accusing DCARA of mob mentality in the community. Some of the leaders are asking people to wait for the investigation. An unknown individual said that DCARA belongs to the community, not the board.

Dee Brewin, Charles Farr, and Liann Osborne all former board presidents and they’re disturbed that, “we got one and one training and knew that the CEO was the one person that we developed and trained.” Brewin stated, "Our responsibility was to allow the CEO to do their duty and not to tell him/her who to hire/fire.  We only time we had closed meetings when we discussed CEO pay or when we discussed evaluations of the CEO. “

“We support you!” Farr shared his thoughts, “we are here, we are here to consult and help you make it work for our community, our deaf community we are here for them not for you and me.“ we need to communicate and be transparent.

Liann, a former president, said she is crying for the community and for the DCARA staff. "YOU Board. I know many of you individually and I like you individually but you as a group, are wrong” Dee “This is all about service he reemphasized at the end of their dialogue.”

Frances made a very targeted point in the form of a question, “DCARA staff is asking for the board to resign as a whole. Do you have a replacement for the board? Until you have that situation figured out, I want to see the board stay until you figure out everything.”  Liann responded and said, “Sometimes we don’t have the luxury to wait and hope, you white people to figure things out we have been waiting too long and hoping. It’s time to stop waiting .” In the same breath, she offered to come back to help get things together.

Rosa Lee Timms came into center stage to talk about the transition plan. Recommendations we have sent including board resignation so that the community can heal, we recommend that understand that we wanted a 2-4 week transition plan to send applications in. This is to also request that they follow the bylaws. As a management team, we sent those requests. We received a lawyer response saying we can’t recommend applications. Bottom line we got chastised by the lawyer. Yes, we make suggestions instead of suggestions we stop and ask what their suggestions. What is the board decision?

It’s been 6 weeks and the community is still waiting and everybody is waiting to heal including the staff.  This is leading to a level of frustrations increasing. The investigator is not investigating Raymond. (This has been clarified by Rosa Lee Timm)

The staff has no lawyer, The DCARA lawyer was hired by and represents the board. DSS increased their allocation to DCARA including their 8 sister agencies which is why DCARA has been hiring people. So if somebody claims to remove a position due to funds, this is false. Re-emphasis on firing people and then “closing positions due to funds” even though allocation has increased and caused a surplus of funds allowing DCARA to hire more individuals. [Two positions have been announced pending closure which are both held by POC staff]

Rosa Lee Timm emphasizes that it doesn’t matter what happens next week and forth, DCARA staff still want all of the board to leave. Julie Rems Smario was present at the protest and said, “Again, being a board member is not a right, it is a privilege.”

The board was trying to find a solution without meeting our demands and they want to stay within the board. “How can we convince them we are not bad?” They invited a black man to be on the board so they can stand by their claim, “See, we are not racist” This was so they can stay and interact with the board. This was part of their strategy to solve and alleviate conflict.

“Interesting enough, Judy Gough was the one that wanted to resign however the board disagreed and wanted her to stay and expected the community and the staff to accept her apology.” However later, Judy was voted out of the board. “That is how she resigned.” Timm shared with the community.

Jac said that after repairing the problem, we as a community in the Bay Area will grow! Keep hope in your heart and find a place where you know we are doing the right thing.”

DCARA will be posting the same flyer on their facebook page Accountability Now DCARA.

Editor Note: This was taken during the meeting so any corrections needing to be made, please let us know at thedeafreport@gmail.com