[Gerald Garth is a part of the AAIMM network, and Lead facilitator of the AAIMM Village Fund.]
'It was June 2020 and Gerald Garth was asked to do a video interview with the Los Angeles Times about his role as one of the main organizers of the All Black Lives Matter march that was only days away.
For the interview setting, the reporter chose the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Bayard Rustin Plaza, named for the openly gay civil rights activist who was the organizing genius behind the 1963 March on Washington and a top advisor to Martin Luther King.
“It’s a moment I’ll never forget,” Garth tells LGBT News Now.
In early January, he found himself back at the Center but this time to begin his job as the newly-hired director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI).
“When I saw the Center’s commitment to really lifting, expanding, and growing its work in addressing racism and equality and equity, I saw an opportunity for me to bring my skills and strengths to a place that has been just a pillar in LGBTQ+ health and wellness,” he says. “I’ve always celebrated the Center and the great work that it has done. It has been a beacon and uplifted so many people and communities.”
Garth has already began working with Center leadership and with a staff DEI committee to create a racial equity plan for the Center. The goal of the plan is to establish actionable and measurable initiatives in every Center department to further the effort of dismantling systemic racism.
“If we liken ourselves to an orchestra, there is value coming from every section but it has to be moving and playing together for it to be at its best,” he explains. “One of my goals is to really help break a number of the silos that we have historically seen in the Center and tie that work together.”
Safe Spaces to Speak Out
The Center has nearly 800 employees spread out over 10 locations including the main Anita May Rosenstein Campus which serves as the administrative headquarters.
Because of the nationwide flare-up in COVID-19 cases due to the highly-contagious Omicron variant, Garth has spent his first several weeks meeting his colleagues via Zoom.
“This role is not to serve as the magician but as the conductor,” Garth told a Center’s middle management group during a virtual meeting last week. “My role is to make sure we know what we are doing as a collective, that we have what we need, and that we’re aligned in a way that serves us.”
Garth shares that he learned in previous jobs as Chief Operations Officer of the AMAAD Institute (Arming Minorities Against Addiction and Disease) and Manager of Prevention and Care for the Black AIDS Institute that employees need to feel safe and confident when it comes to speaking about DEI issues in the workplace.'
Read the full article (by Greg Hernandez) here !