Over the past several months, we have been quiet. That silence has been rooted in fear–not knowing exactly what to say, or worse, saying the wrong thing. It is also a result of privilege that has impaired our ability to recognize the power inherent in our position. As board members, we must own this conflict.

We know that our approach has been disappointing and painful for members of our community, and for that we are sorry. Our actions do not coincide with the spirit of the coalition and the work we care about so deeply. We hope that by holding ourselves responsible and taking the appropriate actions, we can create the foundation for true reconciliation and healing.

This apology is not performative. Instead, please consider it the first of many actions toward regaining your trust and building NJCASA into a strong anti-oppression organization. Making anti-oppression central to our mission is key to fostering equity and a sense of belonging for all our members and the communities we serve throughout New Jersey.

With your collective support, we hope that our efforts in the coming months begin to restore confidence in our organization and in each of us, as its stewards. As a first step, we are pleased to announce that Dr. Renai Ellison has joined NJCASA as Interim Executive Director. Renai has already demonstrated a deep commitment to creating a stronger, more equitable future for our organization. More information about Renai’s selection will follow in the coming days.

This letter is the first communication of many, as we seek to establish greater dialogue with our membership. We promise to do the work even when it is messy and uncomfortable, remaining transparent, communicating frequently, and, above all, standing in solidarity with each of you.

With Sincerity,

NJCASA Board of Trustees