Community Members Step Up Pressure as GMHC Prepares to Respond
On May 12, TheBody.com first reported on the current growing rift between Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC) and community leaders about GMHC's pending move. Here are some updates:
On May 13 at GMHC's Consumer Advisory Board (CAB) monthly meeting, Larry Kramer, longtime HIV/AIDS activist and one of GMHC's co-founders, blasted GMHC Chief Executive Officer Marjorie Hill and the co-chair of GMHC's Board of Directors (BOD), Matthew Moore. "You all should just resign," he said as they both sat in the audience.
[The Body.com took down the YoutTube clip because it was in violation of the CAB's bylaws. Plus, the footage may be in violation of GMHC's adherence to Article 27F (NYS Confidentiality law). There were GMHC clients in the meeting and no one was asked to sign a release form for any kind of filming.]
The CAB as a whole is not happy with GMHC's move either. The CAB, which represents GMHC's clients, demanded in a recent statement that the entire BOD meet with them before GMHC signs their new lease. If not, the statement says, CAB will ask Hill to resign, as well as BOD co-chairs Odell Mays and Matthew Moore. In addition to resignations, if their demand is not met, the CAB says it will host a protest rally and a press conference on May 19 from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m.
From the statement:
For the last 2 years the CAB has repeatedly asked the CEO for the GMHC community to be involved with helping to find a new building. Sen. Tom Duane and Speaker Christine Quinn also offered help that was also ignored. Instead, the Board of Directors took it upon themselves to search for a building on their own with the result of finding a building with severe restrictions to critical services. This prompted the CAB to request a meeting with the whole Board, which was denied. Now we fear the lease will be signed despite overwhelming opposition. The CAB is therefore demanding a meeting with the whole Board of Directors and other GMHC stakeholders before the lease is signed. If that doesn't happen, we will have a rally and press conference on May 19 in front of GMHC and we are prepared to ask Dr Hill and the board co-chairs, Odell Mays and Matthew Moore, to step down.
Please attend the rally and support the CAB, Clients, Staff, Volunteers and Community. GMHC belongs to you!!
In an attempt to tell its side of the story, the GMHC administration has announced that it will address the community on May 20 at 6:30 p.m. at GMHC's current building. GMHC's official Web site now includes a page in which it asks people to "join us for a community forum to hear about our expanded meals program, enhanced HIV prevention and testing services and continued commitment to client care and wellness."
TheBody.com will continue to monitor this story and provide any updates.
[UPDATE: The Community Forum scheduled for May 20th has been cancelled by GMHC at the request of the Consumer Advisory Board. In its place, CAB representatives and the GMHC Board of Directors will be holding a meeting. Please visit www.gmhc.org for the facts on GMHC's new location.]