This video is regarding to Open Letter for CDR/RCIL and sharing to our Rochester Deaf Community. If the outsiders are curious, feel free to chime in and share away please! :)!! Follow up on this video, I want to apologize for forgetting to add transcript, social media isn’t my thing but MANY MANY THANKS to a dear friend and former colleague who made this for me, The credits for writing this transcript goes to the person who wish to remain anonymous. THANK YOU AGAIN !!Transcript: (White Woman, with black-framed eyeglasses, brown hair in a ponytail with shaved sides, in the black short-sleeved top, signs in American Sign Language. The video starts with a black shirt printed in white “Black Lives Matter” text, which is hung on a chair in front of a beige wall. Signer enters from the right to sit on the chair.)Black Lives Matter. (Raise fist up in the air.)I couldn’t use the shirt because it’s not deaf-friendly for this video, so I thought I’d hang the shirt on the chair. Black Lives Matter is still the top priority focus. Hello Facebook. This video is intended for the Rochester Deaf community. It's great for those of you on the outside to want to read, support, or sign the letter. Thank you in advance. I would appreciate if you can also share this video. Thank you!The purpose of this video is related to CDR and RCIL (Center for Disability Rights and Regional Center for Independent Living). This is about a letter to their Board of Directors regarding the concerns of their CEO named Bruce Darling. We demand 6 actions. The top priority action is that this person needs to be removed or resigned from the position of a CEO/president. He must resign. Those of us who originally signed the letter- which to let you know, it was not easy- felt nervous, scared, worried, and uneasy. But we all have one thing in common, this was the right thing to do. The non-profit organizations, CDR and RCIL, have an amazing mission, services, referral resources, and disability support to provide. It’s amazing. I first worked there as direct care staff, and I learned about their mission and philosophy of “consumer first.” It captured my heart. I held three positions during my time at the organizations; staff, deaf services specialist, which I worked one on one with people in the Rochester Deaf Community and I provided advocacy, services, referrals, and more to the Deaf Community (through RCIL). My last position was Deaf Services Manager at CDR. My departure was sudden, unexpected, and not planned, but I had to. My mental and physical and health was deteriorating rapidly. So that’s why I left. What caused my mental and physical health to deteriorate? The CEO, unfortunately. It was very unfortunate. (Signer is visibly looking sad.)We submitted the letter, opening up and baring our hearts because we are concerned. The letter is a reflection of what happened in the last four years, and we don’t know what occurred in the years before that. We believe those people who were there before would strongly agree and be in favor of supporting this letter. Because of that, our work is not done. We need your support, your signatures, and your advocacy in spreading the word. Reach out to former consumers, employees, members, and ally who experienced similar ordeals, and can also say, upon reading the letter, “Me too.” It’s important that we collect more signatures as the Board of Directors read the letter and see the increasing number of people signing it. 28 of us agreed to write the letter and start this motion, but we need your help and your support. Again, thank you for your time in watching this video and reading the letter. Please share widely all over the Rochester Deaf community. Thank you! (End of video.)

Posted by Catherine Stutzman on Friday, July 17, 2020

Update: This article has been edited on 7/19/2020 for brevity and clarity. Our apologies for the confusion.

The disability community of Rochester, New York submitted an open letter to the Board of Directors of the Center for Disability Rights [CDR] and Regional Center for Independent Living [RCIL] with demands for accountability for the Chief Executive Officer’s misconduct and zero oversight on the Board’s part. The letter makes it clear that both organizations have shown a lack of integrity, and it lists what actions community members expect to be taken–including the removal of the CEO and President: Bruce Darling.

The letter begins with a 9 page summary of concerns that the disability community in the region has for CDR and RCIL, and its overall message is both organizations need to restore their integrity of CDR and RCIL so disabled community members can continue to receive the services/support they need. One incident mentioned in the letter is Darling’s xenophobic comments in a widely shared 2019 video, and it was described as a “smoking gun” that should have been enough to remove Darling from his position with RCIL and CDR.

@ADAPTerBruce, Prez of the Board of @NCILAdvocacy, previewed the racist tirade he plans to give at the NCIL conference next week; “he promised to attack @TheDemocrats as ‘caring more about people who are not legally in this country than their own citizens who are disabled” (Matthew Cortland)

As the President on the Board of Directors for the National Center for Advocacy [NCIL] at the time, Darling publicly and actively pitted the disability community against the immigrant community; by doing so, he was stoking the flames of white supremacy. Cortland also said that Darling was erasing the existence of disabled immigrant community members dying under the custody of the United States’ Customs and Border Protection custody. NCIL’s response was swift with the removal of Darling from his position.

In a Facebook vlog, Catherine Stutzman shares that she had to leave her position “fairly suddenly” mainly because of Darling’s toxic behavior as the CEO. “One thing we all agree on is that this letter is necessary,” Stutzman stated in reference to the group of stakeholders involved in the development of the letter, and she reiterated how important it is for everyone to stand together in bringing attention to the disability community’s needs. The removal of Darling is just the first step, and five other critical items have been listed in the letter. (To read the open letter, click on the link in the following paragraph.)

“These six critical items must be attended to if the pattern of destruction of CDR & RCIL is to be reversed. We believe that none among them is a greater priority than the removal of Mr. Darling. This Board should be ashamed for not having changed leaders and direction long ago. You have lost the confidence of the Disability Community, the Greater Rochester community, and so many committed staff members who firmly believe in the vision and mission of RCIL and CDR.”  (Open Letter to CDR and RCIL

The remaining 13 pages are name signatures and roles of consumers, former employees and contractors, and other community members. Do you want to stand in solidarity with the community members in this letter? Your signature is valued and much needed. “We invite consumers, community members, current and former employees, members of the Disability Community, and any other stakeholders or interested parties to sign on to this open letter.”  (Add your signature to the letter here)