Ableism in the Human Rights Community Part XIII

Since La Quinta:

To view this series from the beginning, go to:

On Monday after the Conference I entered the new email addresses  from the sign in sheets, to the listserve.
At the Conference, some individuals had expressed on the HRC sign in sheet, an interest in working on the HRC/CAMS Conference, so I sent to “Ethel” and “Gilroy” (members of HRC, and leaders of CAMS) the names and contact information for these individuals. I suggested that, as these names were from an HRC list, that CAMS not add the names to a CAMS listserve without getting permission first; a rather simple and legal suggestion. As I had provided both phone numbers and email addresses, this was hardly an unreasonable or meddlesome suggestion. Additionally, I intentionally got them the information as quickly as possible so as not to replicate the type of petty sabotage that “Camile” has been carrying out. I supported HRC/CAMS Conference and didn’t feel that personal differences should be any reason to withhold material or make life difficult to these otherwise adversarial activists.  It is also important to state that up until this point, at least in the minutes (remember, I wasn’t able to stay at the retreat!) the conference on all proposals and leaflets, is billed as an HRC/CAMS Conference.  In the past, all decisions of conferences sub-committees, were subjected to approval by the HRC Committee before the suggestions and plans of the sub-committee could be implemented – a procedure I support and followed.
Here are portions of the email exchange that ensued.  All emphasis have been added after posting, to provide emphasis to this blog’s discourse:

To the two HRC members who are also leaders in CAMS (Coalition Against Militarism in the Schools) I sent this post:

——– Original Message ——–_Subject: hrc/cams conference contacts_Date: Mon, 21 Aug 2006 21:50:01 -0700_From: Emma Rosenthal
at the hrc meeting at the leadership conference, the following people _indicated on the sign up sheet their interest in working on the hrc/cams _conference, of course, i also added them to the hrc newsletter list so _anything that goes out about that conference, will go to these folks, _but i figured you would want the contact info too, and will probably be _setting up a planning committee discussion list.  what is listed below _is exactly the information provided. people who are already on our lists _may not have provided all the necessary info.  if you don’t have contact _info for some of these folks and you need it,  i’m sure we can all piece _it together.
(names and contact info were provided, but of course are not included in this blog.)

To the HRC list, I posted:

——– Original Message ——–_Subject: listserves_Date: Mon, 21 Aug 2006 22:55:40 -0700_From: Emma Rosenthal
i entered the email addresses of those who signed our sign in sheet at the leadership conference.  we now have over 200 contacts on our newsletter list. quite a few people signed in but didn’t give an email address, including a few that indicated that they wanted info about our events and/or wanted to work with us.  when i get a chance, i’ll call these folks and explain that we won’t be able to contact them by phone and if they really want info, we need an email address.  (unless anyone wants to make several phone calls before every meeting and event!  –i didn’t think so 🙂
a few email addresses were not legible, and if they also provided a phone number, i’ll call them and get the correct address.
it probably goes without saying, that when someone gives the hrc their contact info, that that info is for hrc use only, and should not be used to distribute info for any other group.
reminder: we have two primary lists:
a discussion list:
the discussion list has not been updated for a while. there are many people on the list who have not participated in the planning of hrc events or meetings.  after the first meeting of the coming year, unless there is an objection, i will redo the list to reflect the membership for this year.  to be a member of the committee, a utla member must attend either the first meeting of the school year, or two consecutive meetings.  so i’ll make sure we keep the list current, by cleaning it up in september and then maintaining it after that. the discussion list is an unmodified list of the hrc for organizational purposes only.
a newsletter list
<>the newsletter list provides information to the hrc contacts, as well as members, announcing events and meetings.  it is an advertising tool and a organizing tool.

steve, andy an i are the moderators of both lists.  to post to the discussion list, simply send an email to:
to post an hrc related announcement to the newsletter list, send it to:  or
all of the moderators will receive this email, and any of us can put it through, or you can email any of us directly, or post it to the discussion list.
additionally, it may be necessary to set up other lists to plan specific events.  for example, last year i set up a list of the conference sub committee, and another list so that i could communicate logistical info with all the presenters at the conference.  the same may be necessary for the hrc/cams conference, and chairs of those committees would set those up.
<>in addition to entering the new email addresses to our list, i have also sent to “ethel” and “gilroy” the info of those who indicated an interest in the hrc/cams conference planning. (one of the email addresses on that list is one of the email addresses that is not correct. i’ll resend the correct info when i get it.)


GILROY ATTACKS  -a message from a parallel universe……

And I respond….

“Gilroy”  who is both a CAMS leader and an HRC member, replies to me off list, ccing the message to “Ethel.”
——– Original Message ——–_Subject:  Re: hrc/cams conference contacts_Date:  Tue, 22 Aug 2006 06:04:16 -0700
I thought this was a CAMs conference! I think setting up any more list serves will just confuse the issue.
Emma, I do not how comfortable I feel that you are imposing your influence of this. It seems in the past for conferences that you have grumbled and complained a lot, made many cavalier decisions, and then taken credit for other peoples work.
CAMs has to plan this conference, not you! _HRC has already helped us but that does not mean that you are being put in charge of anything. Please do not assume that your are able to delegate further roles for HRC or HRC members.
My response, cc’d to “Ethel,” Steve and Andy.
——– Original Message ——–_Subject: Re: hrc/cams conference contacts_Date: Tue, 22 Aug 2006 07:56:40 -0700_From: Emma Rosenthal
what a strange email!
i took the time to send you the contact the day after the leadership conference. a thank you MIGHT have been in order.
you might want to reread my messages.  i don’t think you understood what was being said, because you totally ran the wrong way with this.  sometimes that happens when we react too quickly or let our feelings get in the way of our judgment. you obviously harbor long-standing resentments towards me that influence your judgment of anything i do.
according to the minutes from the retreat, conversations with steve and andy, and emails from “ethel,” this was to be a joint conference, jointly planned. if that’s not the case, i have no problem with that.  but it should be clarified, because it isn’t clear to quite a few people.  personally, though difficult, i was planning on working with anyone necessary, despite the chasms and resentments that are rampant within this committee, which is why i got the contact info to you as quickly as i did; but if CAMS wants to work on its own, i, personally am more than comfortable with that.
at the HRC meeting in la quinta,”clarence” added a column to the HRC sign in sheets for people to check off if they were interested in working on the CAMS conference. that’s the information i sent on to you.  but these lists were HRC lists, and so it’s very delicate when one group gives email contacts to another group.  that’s all i was saying.  if you are right, that this is essentially a CAMS conference that is not accountable to HRC and that it is not a joint conference, then you should have sent around your own list. ( if it is a joint conference though, then all members of HRC, including me, are entitled to give input.)
if it is part of HRC, then we would send announcements on HRC lists (and will probably send them out anyway, because the work of CAMS is very important to the HRC! and just as i did with the contact info, will make sure that the info gets out quickly, despite the internal politics and bad feelings going around.)  but it would not be appropriate for CAMS or any group to use email addresses from an HRC list without the permission of the people who signed up. (that’s easily taken care of with an email or phone call asking for permission. — and you have the information, because i gave it to you! and even if the conference is not an HRC conference, then i still think sending you the contact info was appropriate.  i just hope and trust that you will not use the contact info inappropriately. if it wasn’t appropriate to send the info to you,  then i owe those people and the HRC an apology.) on the other hand, if any sub-committee needs to set up a list to communicate among the organizers or presenters, they shouldn’t need to go through me or andy or steve or anybody. that was all i was saying.
so, to repeat!
HRC has two lists: one internal, one external.__subcommittees may want to set up separate lists and should be able to do so without needing approval of anyone but those on the lists themselves.  so i wasn’t imposing myself on this, but just the opposite.
nor was i delegating any work to anyone, just explaining what the role of the listserves are so that my own work, as one of the moderators of the list would be accountable.
that’s my position, which isn’t written in stone (but rather, was submitted digitally, and can be amended or opposed.)
and please, let me know who didn’t get appropriate credit for their work and which decisions were made without democratic process and HRC approval?
you might want to check the HRC minutes before making such extreme accusations.

<>Gilroy reasserts my marginalization:     <>again, cc’d only to “ethel.”

——– Original Message ——–_Subject: My observations_Date:  Tue, 22 Aug 2006 09:45:14 -0700_From:  “Gilroy”
I am very busy right now at work but I do need to respond to this.
Let me repeat:
Emma, I do not feel comfortable in your self-appointed role as a conference planner.
If you want to give input fine than give it through the normal channels of meetings.
We do not need a seperate list serve for the conference. I don’t think we need a another committee either.
CAMS has been busy planning this conference for quite awhile and we have a vision for the conference that is appropritate and focused.
I think Emma, that you take way too much credit for other peoples work. If you think this is an extreme comment than I guess your idea of internal self-reflection is limited only to other people.
Frankly, I do not know what if any role you should take in this conference given your past bizarre behavior.__”Gilroy”____________________
Truly stunned by “Gilroy’s” assertions, and concerned that there may in fact have been an oversight on my part where I had not given credit to someone for the work they had done, or perhaps had made an undemocratic decision, searching my memory for an example to back up his accusation, and finding none, wrote to him, cc’d again, to Steve, Andy and “Ethel.”
——– Original Message ——–_Subject: Re: My observations_Date: Wed, 23 Aug 2006 14:45:38 -0700_From: Emma Rosenthal
dear “gilroy”_i have been reflecting very deeply upon the feedback you have given me, but can’t think of a single example of what it is you are accusing me of.  i would hate to think that i took credit for someone else’s work or didn’t follow democratic procedure in taking action that i thought was on behalf of the committee.  without examples of the behavior you refer to, my self evaluation stops short of simply believing you on faith or relying on my own memory of events to guide me.
while i understand that you harbor deep seated anger and resentments towards me, i would welcome any real and constructive feedback you might have.  sometimes the best information comes from the worst source, for who else can see our shortcomings quite as well as our adversaries.
i await you response with hesitant anticipation.
The only response by “Ethel” the (self-appointed) chair of this Conference, included in a larger conference planning update, posted to the HRC list, was the following”
“For clarification, CAMS is providing the leadership with input and support from HRC.”
in this post she refers for the first time to the conference as the CAMS/HRC conference, not the HRC/CAMS conference.

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