Pam Spaulding of Pam’s House Blend has received information (ahead) from “a trusted source in a position to know the details, that Joe Solmonese, President of the Human Rights Campaign, the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization in the country, will announce his departure next Tuesday.” Gay U.S.A. Blog has not verified the information.
Yes, it’s the end of an era. Not many too surprised. This will be coming mere months after the departure of Geoff Kors of EQCA. The Blend reports that Solmonese will “reportedly step down from the organization in December of this year.”
Apparently his departure also signals, (according to Pam, via her source,) the beginning of a larger staff shake-up in the HRC. A replacement executive director has been identified — it will be someone who is not currently on the HRC’s staff, but is currently a paid consultant that has worked with the civil rights group for some time.
Pam Spaulding describes Solmonese’s tenure, “the Human Rights Campaign has become a bedrock institution that has played a role in successes — a hate crimes law passed, the legislative repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell — the extent of its leadership and success also depends on your point of view and knowledge of the back stories related to the hard work to make these gains happen.”
Many have considered HRC deficient in its performance, mostly questioning its diversity, its connectedness to the community, and its inability to effect unity in the movement between the various groups. Of course the HRC of Solmonese has done a lot of good work – for visibility, White House, Congressional relationships and must surely have played its fair share of the progress in the fight for equality.
Clearly the old guard is out and the new is in. I am noticing that Roland Polencia, the new Executive director of EQCA has his attention on the ideal of coalition building. It is time for a real movement and I hope HRC does see the need for leadership that takes the movement to this next imperative notch – unity!
The new director enters an arena of increasing Republican tolerance to wards LGBT America, where the equality wedge issue may well be on the other foot – a wedge between Republicans themselves. The next stretch must include reaching those allies who could embrace equality, but are yet to get on board for the fight. Hopefully HRC will get on board for the new generation.
By Melanie Nathan