Daily Archives: September 7, 2006

Ableism in the Human Rights Committee Part XV

September 05 2006 (11:05:00) US/Pacific

Andy Responds to “Gilroy’s Emails
To view this series from the beginning, go to:

Strange formatting:  Blogsource is having technical trouble and there are formatting problems.  One problem is the placing of question marks where they don’t belong, in the place of spaces.  I have tried to remove all of the erroneous question marks, but may have missed a few.  If it doesn’t make sense, it isn’t supposed to be there.  -emma

On Saturday Andy responds to “Gilroy” in an email to “Ethel” and “Gilroy” who are both leaders of CAMS and members of HRC.  To date, there has been no response from either “Ethel or “Gilroy.”
——– Original Message ——–_Subject: HRC–from the Leadership conference on_Date: Sat, 2 Sep 2006 19:04:16 EDT_From: AndyCA6@aol.com
“Ethel” and “Gilroy”:
This is my letter in response to the messages that have been exchanged (some on list, some off) since the leadership conference.  I am, quite frankly, amazed at “Gilroy’s” vitriol at Emma providing the names of those who signed up to assist in the conference (and “Ethel’s” apparent acceptance of it, when it was she who requested the information at the HRC meeting at La Quinta).  When a conference is a joint HRC/CAMS conference, which is what “Ethel” told me when she proposed it as a possibility in May and in Vancouver, as well as what was printed in the minutes from the retreat, “Ethel’s” draft proposal about the conference, and on the flyer passed out at La Quinta, it suggests equal input and work.  Emma quite rightly provided the names of those who signed up to assist (and only one day after the conference, despite “Camille’s” reluctance to give up the names of those who had signed in at the reception.  “Ethel.” you later (after the exchange between Emma and “Gilroy”) posted ‚”a clarification,” which changed the order of the names (to CAMS/HRC), and a different understanding of what was in the minutes.  I can accept that perhaps the minutes did not accurately reflect the proposal, but since no one asked for them to be changed, I assumed it to be a joint conference with equal input and support from each group, and this change seems to suggest that it is CAMS who can dictate who can participate.
Imagine my surprise when I (as a member of the HRC AND a member of the CAMS Advisory Board) was told by you at the leadership conference that neither I (nor anyone else I assume) could submit a proposal for a workshop because you had already chosen the workshops. Your original post did not ask for ideas for workshops, but rather the format, and assistance you needed.  In a joint conference, priority should be given to HRC and CAMS members where there are competing proposals, as has always been done at past conferences (for example, we had at least one other workshop proposed on Cuba last year which was rejected, because we wanted “Camille” and “Mildred’s” included).
I am also quite concerned that no one (except Linda) has responded to “Clarence’s” wearing of a sexist T-shirt at our meeting and subsequently saying he did it to ‚”piss off Emma.”  “Ethel”, in an earlier note, you said that “Clarence” should be made aware of how his action was offensive (the retreat), and if it continues should be dealt with-or are you condoning his action of wearing the T-shirt and justifying his teasing because it is “understandable” because he does not believe that Emma has a disability?
Below is my line by line response to “Gilroy’s” posts:
8/22, early AM_”Gilroy” wrote:_I thought this was a CAMs conference!__See first 2 paragraphs above. Funding has been committed to the conference by HRC, including funding “Ethel” to come to the Leadership conference. A joint conference suggests just that–that we are working on this together.
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.
Confuse what issue? She said you‚”will probably be setting up a planning committee discussion list.” This is in keeping with past practice, so the conference committee’s internal planning conversations and dealings would not have to be read by the entire list. At the Human Rights Ctte meeting at La Quinta, “Ethel” asked for support for the conference, and, at “Clarence’s” suggestion, the HRC sign in sheet was sent around again for people to add in a separate box if they wanted to assist at the conference. Those names are the ones that Emma sent you, to help in the recruitment of these volunteers. How is that “imposing her influence?”
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.
I have heard Emma express concern and complain, as I and others have also done, about the fact that we needed more help in order to pull off the past two conferences, and that people had made commitments that were not being met without letting us know that they were unable to.  There were also problems in getting bios in a timely fashion for applying for salary points and program printing.  In one case, a committee member only turned in bios and workshop/plenary descriptions she had proposed after I intervened and only after asking me why Emma could not write the committee members’ own bio and workshop descriptions!__Next, the cavalier decisions!? Emma has made sure that all of the conference proposals and decisions have been brought to the entire committee for approval-even when she was too ill to attend the meeting. In last year’s conference the committee was given authority to proceed a little more rapidly and make certain decisions due to the shorter time frame.  She and I made sure that programming of times and workshops were sent out to the presenters (including you, “Gilroy”) and the committee for input and concerns-including the unfortunate mistake that was made about scheduling the two global warming workshops at the same time-but you did not respond to those posts, “Gilroy”! You only complained at the conference itself, when it was too late to change things!  _And finally, taking credit for other peoples work? I have seen Emma walk around the conference with a pad of paper making notes, so she would not forget to thank anyone!_Emma has also asked you to provide instances of the two above accusations (TWICE!)-and you have been silent-as you apparently were if and when the alleged offenses happened-instead of addressing them when they occurred._Does this mean that you cannot give specifics, or that your accusations are totally unfounded, presented in order to intimidate her? And how do you know that she lacks “self-reflection” if you have never provided her with feed back in what may have been a sincere oversight on her part, in time for her to correct it?
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._G.__As pointed out above, she was working under the assumption that this was a joint conference. Where does it say anywhere in her communication to you, or what actions have occurred that suggests Emma wants to plan this conference or have charge of anything about it, or to delegate roles? Two years ago, at the request of the HRC Emma put together the two list serves and set up a web page (if I remember correctly, you said you did not have time to do it, because of your work with CAMS) with the discussion list being unmoderated and the announcement list being moderated by Steve, Emma, and me. And where did she attempt to delegate roles???
8/22, late morning
I am very busy right now at work but I do need to respond to this.
Glad you felt the necessity of replying-I do wish you had taken the time to actually reply to her questions and requests-and maybe taken the time to think out your reply.__Let me repeat:_Emma, I do not feel comfortable in your self-appointed role as a conference planner.__The only thing I can figure out about this is that in the context of the past two conferences she was referred to as chair of the conference sub-committee, a title that was not self-appointed but granted by HRC, as no one else expressed interest.
If you want to give input fine than give it through the normal channels of meetings.__Are you saying you would prefer she not send you the names and contacts of people who offered to help in the conference until the September 27 meeting, less than 6 weeks before it is to occur? “Ethel’s” initial draft proposal requested that those interested in assisting do so by responding to her email. Isn’t email, including our listserve an appropriate channel for input into Committee process, especially for a member whose health does not always allow her to get to meetings?  If not for input and inter-meeting decision making and dialogue, why else have a listserve?
We do not need a separate 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 appropriate and focused.__Again, no new committee or list serve is proposed-other than sharing what was done in the past. If the work can be done without it, wonderful! Also, if CAMS wanted to do a conference without HRC input and full participation, they could have asked for us just to use the HRC name to get the room, as has been done in the past, and even have requested funding for it. We have also done this for other groups, such as the Immigration Conference just this last June. Perhaps you would feel better if we went back to that model!
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.__See above – provide instances as twice requested.
Frankly, I do not know what if any role you should take in this conference given your past bizarre behavior.
Now, we get to perhaps what might be the heart of your bizarre letters! Is it that you do not like the way she blew up at the retreat? Or that she explained and apologized about her actions and continues to assert her rights?__I would then have to ask about your and others’ “bizarre behavior,” as follows:_- “Gilroy’s” letters and “Ethel’s” tacit agreement of them_- Saying “Clarence’s” teasing and abuse at the retreat was understandable because “Ethel” and “Mildred” had “seen others react with discomfort when Emma asked for help due to her illness?” (I must ask you here, “Ethel”, if you noticed this before why not try to follow your suggestion of talking it out when it occurred instead of letting it build to this)?_- “Clarence’s” apology in Boston to Emma for his behavior at the retreat (which included grabbing her arm unexpectedly and a smarmy kissing of her hand – and saying that he would make his home accessible because there were some who were committed to having future retreats at his home), and then wearing a sexist T-shirt to a meeting (an HRC meeting, no less!) in order to upset Emma- as he admitted to three people at La Quinta? Or is that still allowable because he thinks she is not disabled? _- No one responding to Linda’s description of that incident at La Quinta-do you condone what he did?_-justifying the teasing and ridicule of a disabled person on the subjective basis of disbelief in her disability, while simultaneously suggesting that she explain her condition while condemning her for doing so, characterizing such explanations as a plea for pity.__I am quite saddened and angered by what has happened at the retreat -and subsequently-among what seems to be a handful of people. “Ethel” and “Mildred” suggested this be handled internally and not in email, but no attempt has been made to do so – and it appears that there is no desire to do so.
The work of the Human Rights Committee is very important to me and to many in the union. But if our group cannot be a model of how to deal with internal disagreement, discomfort, and yes, discrimination, then I have to wonder about what is going on.
We need to deal with this-and before the September 27 meeting. I would like to see “Gilroy’s” accusations about cavalier decision making and not giving appropriate credit, or an apology for making unfounded accusations. Perhaps Steve needs to step in as chair here as well-certainly for “Gilroy’s” accusations and in response to Linda’s posting about “Clarence’s” actions at La Quinta.
If we do not, I do believe the leadership of the union will need to be called in to deal with a situation where a member of the HRC committee cannot feel safe going to meetings without being abused, ridiculed, or baited because of her disability, the belief that she does not have a disability, or some set of rules (as yet not defined-or is it that an angry outburst is never allowed?) on how someone should request their assistance or demand their rights.