DCARA Board Hires Questionable Investigator and Ignores Staff Requests
Editor’s Note: Steve Longo has responded to our article with the following statement:
This report is not accurate. First of all, Steve has never met the investigator who was recommended by DCARA's attorney at his advice. Secondly, he has never retaliated against anyone in DV/SA field. This article is misleading and should be taken down immediately because it is defamatory and DCARA's attorney has this copy. Suggest that to check the facts next time. Thank you. (Steve Longo - Comments)
Editor’s Note 2: The Deaf Report believes in remaining neutral in any and all articles. If anybody has DCARA’s Lawyer’s contact information, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org Thank you!
When Raymond Rodgers, the Executive Director of Deaf Counseling, Advocacy, and Referral Agency (DCARA) was suspended, The Deaf Report posted that the DCARA released a video with Tom, their vice president addressing the community and their concerns basically stating exactly what their management team said, “Board is acting in good faith and has hired an investigator to get the facts so we can have [a] better understanding of the truth.” (Tom)
The Bay Area Black Deaf Advocates (BABDA), among other organizations have been standing steadfast with DCARA staff in their outrage that the board has continued to ignore their demands. When their demands were listed at the beginning of March, one of those demands was that Judy Gough resigns. Gough has since then resigned, however the board continues to work with an investigator.
Julie Rems Smario brought it to The Deaf Report’s attention by writing a public statement of support for the staff at DCARA. Her statement was inspired by the video they recently posted called, “DCARA Staff”. In her statement she stated that Steve Longo (a former DCARA board member) is the consultant that was asked to come on board to handle the investigation. She also stated that Longo is also the one that selected and hired the investigator. The hiring of a consultant that is familiar with the organizations’ bylaws, procedures, and guidelines is a very common practice for non-profit organizations.
“Additionally, the board is being consulted by Steve Longo who is retaliatory especially to women who work in DV and SV field -and the board hired a token person to publicly claim that they are not racists. It’s so broken.”(Rems Smario)
Samantha Poteet told The Deaf Report that “[t]his isn’t the first time I’ve heard of his reputation as being retaliatory against people who support female survivors of DV/SV."
The attorney’s personal relationship with Steve Longo came to light at the Town Hall meeting which has led to questions about the their ability to remain unbiased in their involvement.
There is a Facebook page “Accountability Now DCARA” calling for accountability by DCARA, in which there were several live video [of the town hall meeting] by BABDA and it was stated in one of the video featuring Tom Murillo that the investigation is motivated by racial intentions. The two board members that were present at that meeting live streamed by BABDA kept mum about the motives behind their investigation.
The staff continue to ask the board to resign. Kelly Vilavong made a vlog off-duty and shared her thoughts. In the end of the vlog, she stated, “I stand with POC STAFF that have been OPPRESSED by the Board. Also that 16 applicants needs to be accepted, the Board needs to GO.”
DCARA’s Board announced recently [continuing to ignore DCARA Staff request that the rest of them resign] that they have welcomed Melvin Patterson to the board and this has led to an outcry by the local community. Rima Cornish commented under The Deaf Report’s initial post when they shared the news of Melvin saying that multiple people in the local bay area community are unhappy with this decision.
Cornish also stated on her public share of the vlog of the announcement by Murillo, “[b]oard pick only Melvin because he is an ALLY. That is unfair. In my eyes, all u do is protect yourself NOT DCARA. I don’t think Melvin is a good choice.” Some others have made generic statements about the relationship Melvin Patterson has had with the former president of DCARA, Judy Gough, and his current involvement with ROAR, which Gough’s wife is directly involved with. Others are concerned that there were sixteen total applicants and they don’t feel like all of the applicants were given a fair chance to interview or be selected for the open position on the board.