We are officially tendering our resignation from the Florida NOW Board effective immediately. We are disturbed with how the organization is being run due to the following reasons:
1. On June 7 at an informal meeting called to discuss an article from the Daily Beast accusing NOW, the NOW President, and Florida NOW of racism, President Kim Porteous called for a State Board vote on asking National NOW President Toni Van Pelt to resign.
2. Kim failed to hold a meeting with the Florida State Council, the ruling body between State Conferences to make this decision.
3. This motion was passed in spite of knowledge that the matter was being handled by the National Board and that publishing any declaration by Florida’s Board would inflame the situation.
4. The June 6th article in the Daily Beast and other material provided to the Board was assumed true in its entirety by some Board Members without evaluating the paper’s reputation or considering conflicting documentation provided to us.
5. Although we requested to discuss a plan to deal with racism within Florida NOW, the topic continued to return to grievances against NOW President Toni Van Pelt. We do appreciate the suggestion of one Board member to focus on restorative justice. Unfortunately that became a mere talking point in a letter about the decision.
6. We fear that details in the Daily Beast article were confirmed to allies as truth without regard for the impact on NOW’s reputation or our struggles to handle this internally.
7. Florida NOW Chapter leaders and members were blindsided by the June 10th email with the Board’s decision, resulting in a debacle on Facebook that further damaged the reputation of Florida NOW and dismantled many years of work toward sisterhood.
8. Only three members of the Florida Board were willing to attend a meeting and even listen to a fair response by Toni to the allegations.
9. By not working for buy-in within Florida NOW, Kim abused her power as President and we choose to no longer serve under her leadership.
We agree that NOW is not as diverse as we would like and we need to work to dismantle white privilege in the organization. We take the complaints against Florida NOW, NOW and Toni seriously. We also take seriously the decision to remove a duly elected National President. Based on what we’ve seen, Florida NOW itself appears quite divided on the issue.
We disagree with the Board’s decision to go on the record asking for Toni’s resignation. We consider this a matter for our National Board to discuss and vote on as they represent the entire country. We pledge to honor whatever they decide.
We stand ready to provide turnover to our replacements no later than July 4, 2020.
Vice President, Judi Marraccini
Treasurer, Elaine Togneri
Secretary, Terry Sanders