A few weeks ago, employees at HOPE Works, the rape crisis center in Burlington, expressed their frustration their leadership, specifically their Executive Director Cathleen Barkley. Following the organizing, an individual was fired — seemingly in retaliation. Since then, they have written an open letter that you can read here and the entire staff of HOPE Works has stopped working noting that their leadership created an environment that was rife with hostility, racism, retaliation, queer/transphobia. They will not return to work until the following demands are met:
- Victim-survivor support services resumed by reinstating Lucy Basa as Victim Advocate.
- Executive Director be removed from her position and our Advocacy Director and/or Associate Director immediately be appointed to protect programs and services.
- Community and survivor trust in our services and agency reestablished by HOPE Works Board of Directors working with the Vermont Network to ensure that culturally competent, survivor centered community members are appointed.
Here are some things you can do if you wish to support the HOPE Works staff:
- Contact members of the Board of Directors to tell them you stand with the staff.
Jan Wright firstname.lastname@example.org
Ron Redmond email@example.com
Yves Bradley firstname.lastname@example.org
- A GoFundMe campaign has been set up to support their staff of 9 for 1 month (rent, gas, childcare, etc). Money raised will also go towards their legal fees to pay their discrimination lawyer.