Q Center is an important and much sought resource for Portland’s socially diverse and intersectional LGBTQ communities. In addition to the safe space provided by an accessible drop-in space that is open every day of the week, Q Center offers daily peer-led support groups, independent programming for LGBTQ youth and seniors, an Information & Referral service for people seeking LGBTQ competent care and resources, and institutional advocacy through (among other things) the Safe Schools programming and the Bridge 13 LGBTQ diversity training series.
Q Center is in a tumultuous time: many staff and Board members have left. To rebuild community trust, this week the majority of remaining Q Center Board members agreed to resign and be replaced with new board leadership. This interim board, which met for the first time on Thursday, December 18, will convene community conversations—public, transparent, electronically and in-person—to determine the future of Q Center as an organization and the program and services it provides. The Interim Board will be supported by an Advisory Committee.
Q Center Interim Board
- Stephanie Hooper, current Q Center Board Member
- Leora Coleman Fire, current Q Center Board Member
- Antoinette Edwards, PBPFLAG Board Member
- Zan Gibbs, SMYRC co-founder and former program manager
- Robert Goman, Community volunteer & donor
- LeAnn Locher, Q Center Founder/Former Board Member
- Athen O’Shea, Tranz Guyz PDX Co-facilitator; Portland Trans March 2014 organizing committee
- Lisa Watson, Community volunteer & donor, Cupcake Jones
- Sam Adams, Q Center Co-Founder
- Cyreena Boston Ashby, Basic Rights Oregon Board Member
- Kendall Clawson, first Q Center Executive Director
- Jeana Frazzini, Basic Rights Oregon Executive Director
- CM Hall, Basic Rights Oregon Board Member
- John Halseth, Basic Rights Oregon Board Member
- Bob Speltz, Q Center Founder/Former Board Member
- Jackie Yerby, Basic Rights Oregon Board Member
Additionally, Basic Rights Oregon Board and staff have agreed to support Q Center, as needed. This week, Basic Rights Oregon’s Board of Directors authorized a $30,000 gift to Q Center to help pay for employee health care coverage and current payroll. It also approved an additional $20,000 gift to help on-going operations of the Center, if needed. These resources were funded out of Basic Rights Oregon’s operating reserve, which the Basic Rights Oregon board has built over the last decade.
“These resources were entrusted to Basic Rights Oregon by the community and we are offering to ensure the wellbeing of the workers at Q Center who provide critical support and services to our community every day,” said Jeana Frazzini, Basic Rights Executive Director. “We hope to inspire giving from others to ensure that Q Center can be stabilized in the near-term and can be here for our community for years to come.”
“I think all of us who have agreed to serve on Q Center’s interim board recognize that we, as a community have had a few very hard years at Q Center. The call for change – for a leadership that seeks out and responds to community input, for a community center that represents and serves the whole community – has been long and sustained,” says Athen O’Shea, Interim Board Member. “Numerous community conflicts have highlighted the need for our LGBTQ community center to develop an institutional awareness, policy, and practice that centers racial and economic justice, trans justice, full access for people with disabilities, and real movement toward social equality.” More words from the initial gathering of the board and committee offer great commitment and hope:
“The time is done with being our own barriers.” – Neola Young, Q Center Staff
“I hope to help mend fences: there’s a lot of fences to mend out there.” –Lisa Watson
“There’s so much opportunity in crisis. Crisis doesn’t scare me. Problems and conflicts are great opportunities.”—Zan Gibbs
“This is going to be a community effort. We’re taking a breath, we’re being thoughtful. I’m inspired, I think it’s possible.” —Kendall Clawson
“Today I feel such a tangible new energy and so full of potential.” — Nash Jones, Q Center Staff
More information to come, including sign-up for ongoing news about the process, opportunities to be involved, and requests for feedback. Inquiries should be directed to LeAnn Locher, 503 860 5088 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.