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IPHCA called out for not issuing an apology

Tuesday, Jul 31, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Background is here and here. From the Illinois Collaboration on Youth

The Illinois Collaboration on Youth learned with dismay about the racist remarks made by the former President and Chief Executive Officer of the Illinois Primary Health Care Association (IPHCA) against one of our own Board members, Raul Garza. We are even more concerned to learn that the IPHCA has yet to issue an apology despite the acknowledgment by the former executive that he did make those remarks.

Like the IPHCA, ICOY members serve a disproportionate number of people of color in our work. People of color are our clients, our staff, our volunteers, our executives, and our Board members. It is disheartening to realize in 2018 that a racist remark would be made by a leader in our industry and that our peers would not immediately understand that an apology and full investigation would be needed as a result. We all must do better, as leaders in our communities, to recognize and respect the common bonds of humanity which unite us all, and to reject and repudiate racist stereotypes, remarks, and behavior whenever they occur.

* From Sen. Martin Sandoval

Senator Martin A. Sandoval (D-Chicago), Co-Chairman of the Illinois Legislative Latino Caucus, this week called for legislative hearings to investigate the trail of racism surrounding the resignation of Illinois Primary Health Care Association (IPHCA) President and CEO Bruce Johnson.

Johnson resigned Monday, July 16 after he admitted to making racist remarks during a meeting with an IPHCA member organization. Just four days later, six members of the IPHCA’s Executive Committee resigned.

“This isn’t just one incident of a racist comment. This was a sustained campaign of intimidation by not just Bruce Johnson but several members of the executive board,” Sandoval said. “I call for these hearings because we have an obligation to stand up for one another and what is right to ensure that racist conduct—no matter who engages in it—will not be tolerated.”

An official complaint of discrimination against Bruce Johnson and the IPHCA Executive Committee was filed last week by Raul Garza, President and CEO of Aunt Martha’s Health & Wellness. Garza is a U.S.-born citizen and 12-year veteran of the United States Air Force. Johnson allegedly made disparaging comments to Garza about his re-entry into the country after a recent visit to Mexico.

“The executive committee clearly failed in their duty to investigate these disgusting comments and it is disturbing that a handful of IPHCA members are now speaking in defense of the individuals who have rightfully resigned,” Sandoval said. “Their protest reflects poorly on the Association’s entire membership.”

Sandoval said a committee should investigate:

    • Why Mr. Johnson was allowed to behave as he did

    • Why it took so long for the Executive Committee to conduct an investigation

    • Why the Association has not issued an apology for either Johnson’s behavior or its failure to properly investigate the matter

Sandoval said he also plans to file a resolution to conduct an audit of the IPHCA’s adherence to its contracts with the State of Illinois.

“The IPHCA has multiple contracts with the State, and those contracts require the Association to comply with all civil rights laws prohibiting discrimination in any form,” Sandoval said. “We have to send an example that while increasingly common, this type of discourse will no longer be tolerated.”

An IPHCA spokesperson says the group’s new executive director (who is black) has talked with members of the Latino Caucus, but hasn’t yet spoken with Sandoval.

I’ve asked if the group plans to issue a public apology.

       

5 Comments
  1. - @misterjayem - Tuesday, Jul 31, 18 @ 1:02 pm:

    Gentle Reader,

    When your CEO, chairman, legal counsel and entire executive committee resign in the aftermath of scandalous racial remarks directed at the leader of a health care and social service agency, an apology is in order.

    – MrJM


  2. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Jul 31, 18 @ 3:22 pm:

    This issue looks more like a turf war among competing members. Yes, the former director deserved to go. The leadership also resigned. It looks like the new leadership is doing all that it can to clean up the mess.
    While some of its members have state contracts, the Association itself should does not fall under the purview of legislative scrutiny—it’s a private non-profit.


  3. - phocion - Tuesday, Jul 31, 18 @ 3:26 pm:

    Well, if there’s anyone who knows about disgusting comments, it’s Marty Sandoval.


  4. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Jul 31, 18 @ 3:54 pm:

    The Association absolutely falls under the purview of legislative scrutiny. IPHCA receives funding from the state and federal government. Those contracts require the Association to comply with both state and federal anti-discrimination laws. Scrutiny is warranted, as is an apology.


  5. - BeenThere - Tuesday, Jul 31, 18 @ 4:16 pm:

    Bruce was racist, sexist, and inappropriate in the work place as long as he was at IPHCA… and his handpicked board have been ignoring it just as long. Interview former employees and see what you come up with… It’s about time it caught up with him. Hats off to Garza for finally calling him out on it.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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