October 11, 2021
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
A Commitment to Mission Means Not Just Condemning But Combating Racism In All Forms
Last week the Columbus Dispatch published an article called, “A Culture of Discrimination,” narrating experiences of institutional racism and anti-Blackness within leadership circles at one of our main partner organizations, Equitas Health. The Ohio Name Change Legal Clinic (FKA the Ohio Name & Gender Change Legal Clinic), together with our partner groups have recommitted to challenging and combating racism and anti-Blackness, both interpersonally and professionally.
We validate the experiences laid out, as well as the wave of support already shown from other organizations and institutions across the state. We are unwavering in support for BIPOC employees—both full and part-time—as well as former employees, clients, and prospective clients of Equitas Health. We consider Equitas Health staff members comrades, and have witnessed many come through the Ohio Name Change Legal Clinic.
Our commitment is to our communities. The Ohio Name Change Legal Clinic will continue providing life-affirming services, ensuring that our community members have access to affirmative resources including anti-racist, pro-Black resources within LGBTQ+ spaces. We recognize the many BIPOC Equitas Health employees who have and continue to provide such resources.
As community partners, we commit to the ongoing work—for some of us that’s ongoing healing and for others it’s ongoing work of combating racism—particularly anti-Blackness and systemic racism. Equitas Health serves populations where there may be no other option, and, as community partners, we must hold them to the same standard that we would hold ourselves.
We call on Equitas Health, and particularly those within the highest positions of leadership, termed the “C-Circle” to commit not only to filling a new position, but to ongoing community accountability and cultural competency training, and all demands as outlined in the list of demands former and current Equitas staff members have published in conjunction with the Queer Partnership for Black Liberation. We want to see leadership within Equitas, and specifically in the C-Circle respond transparently and with humility.
We believe in Equitas’ mission that states they are a space, “for those seeking a welcoming healthcare home”. We wish to help Equitas as a whole succeed in providing such. That success can only come from doing the work. We acknowledge that Equitas’s leadership has made an initial public-facing response. We validate the continued harm that some may have experienced from it.
We appreciate the staff members, both former and current, who want to continue bringing affirmative resources to LGBTQ+ people across the state. It’s you that we are rooting for. We validate the work put in from former and current staff members, particularly Black and BIPOC staff members, in creating realistic demands. We invite Equitas Health to respond fully, centering a commitment to anti-racism and pro-Blackness in all facets of the organizational structure, especially within leadership. We will continue to resource our communities with culturally relevant, affirmative resources.
Equality Ohio, OCTOPUS LLC, Living With Change, TransOhio