Thursday, June 07, 2012

HRC's Chad Griffin Visits SF &
No Public Events on his Schedule?
(HRC's new executive director Chad Griffin, receives kisses from Prop 8 lawsuit plaintiffs Sandi Stier and Kris Perry. Photo snapped by Karen Ocamb of LGBT POV, at Griffin's going away party earlier this week.)

This anonymous note hit my in-box today:
I am just am an anonymous friend who would like you to know, if you do not, that Chad Griffin, the new head of the HRC will be in town this weekend and meeting with others on Sunday.  I had pushed for your inclusion as I think it is important for him to have your point of view, but it seems those around him want to keep him locked off and not even tell the press.  Disappointing.  From what I know of the man he would definitely want to hear what you have to say.

Not sure how much stock to put in this note. For what it's worth, HRC's page for California lists no public events with Griffin and the Bay Area Reporter shares nothing about him coming to town this weekend. I believe the note was generated in response to my remarks to the Washington Blade's White House reporter Chris Johnson today about Griffin taking the helm at the Human Rights Campaign:
Michael Petrelis, a gay San Francisco-based blogger who has criticized HRC, was skeptical of any change and remained critical of HRC, calling the organization “an elitist social network known more for opening LGBT checkbooks for Democrats” than being interested in engaging with the larger LGBT community.
Among the goals that Petrelis called on Griffin to pursue at HRC were his plan for regional town halls, transparency over board of directors meetings and decisions, greater engagement with grassroots activists and ordinary LGBT people as well as a “commitment to members of the community who don’t want to get married or join the military.”
“The DNA of HRC is not wired to allow one man to change the institutional culture and I’ve heard nothing from Chad indicating that he wants to reform the organization,” Petrelis said. “All I expect of HRC regardless of who the executive leadership team comprises, is fealty to the Democratic Party and a commitment to keep the community from getting too pushy and uppity in demanding fierce advocacy and lasting change from our friends.”
My interactions with Griffin every time we saw each other in San Francisco, and via email, have always been friendly and respectful, however, I do have to recognize a serious fault in how he engages with the community. I'm not aware of him holding open community forums about the Prop 8 lawsuit and larger accountability concerns during his tenure as leader of the American Foundation for Equal Rights. 
If I'm wrong and he's held such forums, please let me know where and when they occurred, and I'll be happy to run a correction. And if he has, then let's hear how he plans to continue democratic grassroots with LGBT folks who don't attend HRC galas.
Los Angeles reporter Karen Ocamb shared photos this week of a cocktail reception held at director Rob Reiner's Hollywood home, to wish Griffin bon voyage and ain't no use in squawking about the new HRC head marking a new chapter in his life with friends at a private home.
But that shouldn't be the only sort of engagement for Griffin at this stage of the HRC regime change playing out as Joe Solmonese officially moves over to the Obama campaign, and Griffin takes the reigns. 
If all we're going to get from Griffin in terms of community outreach as he exits California for Washington are invitation-only parties or coming to San Francisco during Pride Month and not holding a free public event, it could signal a continuation of the same old, same old from HRC.

[Apologies for the uneven fonts and sizing, but Blogger been acting up on me tonight.]

1 comment:

Unknown said...

he's got a lot of fence mending to the transgender communities that the former director committed. michel, give them hell when you see any HRC personnel - i have other fish to fry. hugs, babe, your T.