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Open Letter to Hudson Valley LGBTQ Center Calling for Community Accountability

Open Letter to Hudson Valley LGBTQ Center Calling for Community Accountability

The Newburgh LGBTQIA+ Center, in coalition with other community-based organizations, operating and serving the Hudson Valley, and on behalf of community members, all former constituents, volunteers, and employees of the Hudson Valley LGBTQ Center, herein referred to as the Kingston Center, demand accountability from the Kingston Center for its racist, oppressive, and imperialistic behavior in the Hudson Valley.

Our Center is founded by people of color, centering on the needs of the most vulnerable in the Hudson Valley. As an organization spearheading racial justice work in the Hudson Valley, not only have we become a sanctuary for numerous Kingston Center refugees seeking community, we have experienced first hand the Kingston Center’s tactics to co-opt, appropriate, and reap the benefits of the work of others. We find ourselves expanding valuable resources, navigating an oppressive environment created by organizations like the Kingston Center, that could have otherwise been engaged in serving our communities.

This is exacerbated by predatory behavior on the part of the Kingston Center, which is well versed in replicating the established programs of other community-based organizations, positioning themselves as “experts” and then pursuing funding at the expense of the other organization. The provision of services to our community members is not a competition. We are tired of the perpetuation of this white supremacist culture that values power hoarding; centralizing one organization that receives all the resources, claims all of the solutions, and deters partnership that would mutually benefit the broader intersecting communities throughout the mid-Hudson Valley.  There is more than enough need in the Hudson Valley for all of us to coexist and share in serving our communities. Furthermore, performative justice is harmful and oppressive to vulnerable communities.

This is not the first time, or the second time, or the third time, attempts have been made to engage the Kingston Center in conversation with an aim of accountability, repair harm, and rebuilding relationships. We hope now, as a collective, that they, as an organization, will be willing to work together with us to serve our communities.

We ask that the Kingston Center:

  • Publicly acknowledge that they have caused harm.

  • Participate in a public forum to listen to, and LEARN from, the grievances of those who have experienced harm through a restorative and transformative justice process.

  • Commit to anti-racist, anti-oppressive training for ALL board members, staff, and volunteers as identified by this coalition within 6 months of recognition of this letter respond with a plan.

  • Join our coalition of Hudson Valley Organizations to work collectively in addressing the needs of our intersecting community within the mid-Hudson Valley.

  • Address a culture of competitiveness that results in a scarcity mindset and does not allow for generative partnerships and fruitful relationships to flourish via funding or collaboration.

  • Commit to support the work already being done in the Hudson Valley through partnerships with LGBTQ organizations and other formations that center queer leadership.

Our goal is not to cause harm to the Kingston Center but to call them out for behavior that cannot continue as we pursue justice. Our demands of the Kingston Center are framed to ensure that WE as a community can repair and rebuild relationships in the Hudson Valley to better support our communities.

In solidarity,

Organizations

Individuals

  • Elise Diamond

  • Evie Star

  • Jaguar Mary X

  • Ellis Light

  • Fanya Engler

  • Abacus Haste

  • Danielle Sykes

  • Robin Whitlock

  • Moe Whitcomb

  • Juliana Simon-Fox

  • Danielle Sommers

  • Michelle coleman-guillen

  • Mahto Topah

  • Jay Anderson

  • Judith Lopez

  • Jamie Sanin

  • Betsy Kraat

  • Cara Levine-Brenner

  • Dara Perlman

  • Ashley Drzymala

  • Kristen Lippolis

  • Tyler Jason Rodriguez

  • Valkyrie Hail

  • Mads Leigh-Faire

  • Bryan Warren

  • Megan Collum

  • Sabrina Miller

  • Kailey Strafford

  • Jessica Joy

  • Eva Tenuto

  • Blake Pfeil

  • Elias Chico

  • Holly Kelly

  • Grace Exley

  • Michael Kensell

  • Julie M. Novak

  • Kiebpoli Calnek

  • Erik Rivera

  • Rebecca Flack

  • Aja Schmeltz

Read the original letter at https://www.newburghlgbtqcenter.org/accountability