As the Co-Chairs of the Interim Board of Directors - Tania and I would like to welcome you to SPART*A.
SPART*A is something new. It is still forming - but it is something entirely different, and we're excited about the number of other organizations who have reached out with offers of support and words of encouragement. We've heard from AVER, GLASS and TAVA, as well as GetEqual and a number of other LGBT community voices.
To address the elephant in the room, as members of OutServe-SLDN there was definitely some dissension as we tried to express our concerns and move things forward in OS-SLDN. Our primary goal was to help right the ship, and unfortunately, we couldn't come to a workable compromise with their current board.
Between June 24 and July 19, a group of us spent more than 100 hours in Google Hangouts discussing what to do and how to do it. In that process, we always maintained that walking away was the very last thing we wanted to do. In the end, however, we collectively decided that it was the best way forward.
Starting over wasn't an easy decision, but it was the right one.
Despite some of the dialog that has gone back and forth since, and despite some bumps you've likely missed as we've been getting our feet off the ground, cooler heads have prevailed and we're only looking forward. As a board, we want what's best for LGBT service members, veterans and their families.
If OS-SLDN is able to recover, then there will still be another voice in the fight, and that's completely ok with us. It means more voices calling for positive change and equality.
In the meantime, we've been busier than you can imagine. We had to review and approve bylaws, find officers for the board and begin the research and consultation needed to make this organization a legally recognized non-profit organization. We're defining the shape of SPART*A and making membership voices a core part of how we operate.
Additionally, Tania and I can tell you that the board has a vision for this organization that is bigger than just SPART*A. We envision using the power of partnerships and outside experts to maximize the resources available for our members. We aren't looking to reinvent or replace resources that are already working. There's power in unity, and if we collaborate with established and respected community voices, ours will only grow louder.
Internally, however, we need your help with creating the mechanisms to make all of this work and work well. To that end, we are asking for people to volunteer for several committees that have been established.
It doesn't matter if you're active, veteran, a uniformed/veteran ally or a spouse, you may be able to help us out as we get this incredible effort into full swing. Take a look at the committee form and see if there's something you can you help us with.
The last thing I want to address is communications - and this is a personal note from me to you. Communications are vital part of making an organization like this work. We need to have as many people on the same page as possible. The reality is that we will never be 100% in agreement, but it's important that you feel you can reach out to us. I assure you, you can. If you believe a Director can answer your question, please reach out to them. If you truly feel, however, that Tania and I are the ones to address something, please reach out. The only thing I ask for in the meantime is your patience.
We've come a long way in just one week, with more than 500 membership applications, and more than 1,000 Facebook followers already. There's still a lot of work to be done, however, and the board won't be able to do it alone. We're going to be relying on you for input and ideas. (Committees are the most immediate way to get involved.)
On behalf of the board, we look forward to working with you to make SPART*A something invaluable and irreplaceable.
Jeremy Johnson & Tania Dunbar
Interim Board of Directors