2020-02-16 YouthProject Special General Meeting

This document has the proceedings of the February 16, 2020 YouthProject Special General Meeting as live transcribed.

Here’s their announcement of the meeting

Current Board: Rhiannon Makohoniuk – Vice Chairperson, Clark MacIntosh – Treasurer, Alice Kitz – Secretary, Owen Johnstone – Director, Kim Vance-Mubanga – Director, Hilary Murphy – Director, Gloria Nickerson – Director, + 2 Youth Board positions. (fetched from the website today.)

Everyone arriving is being asked to sign in with their name and address so they can vote. Boyfriend Paul said he wasn’t from Halifax, and the guy at the sign-in desk said, “You took the time to come to the meeting, your voice should get heard too.”

Halifax Central Library Room 301. 40 seats set up. Looks like they’re set up to use the room projector but there’s nothing on the screen at the moment. There’s food & coffee at the back of the room and an ASL interpreter is at the front. The food is fairly wholesome - there are tiny cookies but also crudités, tangerines and onion-garlic nacho chips.

Madonna: hey team let’s get workin’!

46 people present.

Rhiannon, board of Directors: Welcome. We’re a youth-serving organization. We have youth seats up front. We’ll be conscious that things get heated and personal, so if any youth re feeling they need a break, you can text a number to just say so and we can take a 5-10 minute recess.

DanielMacKay from WayvesMagazine will be transcribing this meeting.

There are copies of the bylaws if people want to read them.

Mi’kmag Land Acknowledgement

It’s good to be prioritizing youth and bipoc people.

Housekeeping: food, washrooms. Feel free to get up and move around or leave the room. Owen will be taking notes.

Community Standards / Guidelines / Rules: Do people have suggestions?

Hanley fielding suggestions: This is a personal thing, but it’s unpleasant when people do spoken word snapping. No snapping please. One Diva One Mic. Please listen when others ar speaking. Be aware of how much (temporal) space you’re taking up, how long you’re speaking. Be aware of pronouns. We want this to be a safe space for everyone. Anything else? Prioritize Youth Voices. For example if a lot of people want to comment, overtly listen to youth first. As old folk it’s our responsibility to listen to those voices. The YP is here to help marginalized youth. You’re not here to help yourself but to help the youth coming up behind you. If anything comes up we can add to this list. Reminder: if you need to stop the meeting, text this number. Probably not taking photos without permission. Yeah don’t take photos. Use “I” not “we” - you don’t know how everyone’s feeling. I might need to get up and move, and if others need that, that’s OK. Anything else?

As a loose agenda for today: A report from the board toucing on what’s been going on for the last 8 months Some of th great work staff members have beend oign Get into boardmembere elctions

Is everyone ok with that for an agenda?

Timeline since the AGM in June: this story starts a little before that In march of last year, Our exec director Kate Shewn left the organization and from there the board directors needed a replacement so we hired an interim, Heather Chamberlain, who served until February. In April of last year we looked at hiring firms for filling this ED position but ran into problems. Having different priorities of what we wanted to see in an ED. Tension between staff and board and the hiring firm. We decided we needed a different way of doing this process and were having discussions about how to address a racist history … the way the orga and not catered to bipoc youth and people. So we released a statement talking about this history of racism and how we woudl do better moving forward which included a Community Hiring Committee to select the next ED. The C.H.C launched in May, and it was a group of seven bipoc members, one from the bod and one from the youth board. June - Aug thie group met 5-7 times to work out the job description, call out, striking parameters of how we would outreach… what the hiring/interview process would look like, how people would be weighted. I (Rihanna) was the board member on that team. From that a candidate was nominated.

The board met, acceptd the recommendation, and we made an offer. The person in question signed a provisional contract but it became obvious that there were problems with the process and mutually decided this person would leave.

In October(??) we lost four board members,bringing us down to three, below the quorum for the board. We met with staff, and decided that what we’v been doing wasn’t working, so we set out to do a restructuring, but because of capacity and other issues that never got off the ground.

In December we met and decided that due to burnout and the work that a board should be doing, that the three of us would resign and we’d hold an AGM/SGM to get new boardmembers. We put out the notice in January, and have been in light maintenance mode in the last month preparing for this.

Q: Were those four board resignations for political reasons? A: No, there were various reasons. It was a period of intense communication and work.

Q: Kim Vance: I’m one of the 3 on the board. It wasn’t en masse, each one had thir reasons. But there is a direct link to the level of stress and kind of work. The Youth Project cannot continue to operate without new board members BUT we could look at other options. If we can’t fill the board we don’t have a functional organization.

Q: Krista MacDonald?: is it public knowledge who the hiring committee were? A: It’s in the notes for the AGM/SGM last year. Former staff, youth member, Kat , Kate Mcdonald, Morgan Manser, Michale Davies-Cole, (sp) Ban Dort, Chris Figuroa, Alia and Truly & Vander.

Rihanna: our mandate is actually serving you, and although ther have been issues, this organization’s done a lot of good for you. I’ve pulled together some information for you. Well, the staff member pulled it together.

Programming: over 100 program events in 2019, with a combined 2,283 youth attending these programs. New programming: nonbinary hangout, gender creative kids, accession? qdbipoc specific programming. Hired 2 new educators, TIanna and Maxi, building new curriculum preschool-grade 3 including a P-3 workshop with illustrations by Bria Miller showing there many ways to create a home life. A 4-12 workshop including land acknowledgement, intersectionality, fostering empathy by talking about coming out and gender dysphoria. Tianna has been working on translating our workshops into French for CSAP schools including un-gendered pronouns. We’ve been to 23 schools, reached over 3000 students adn 241 teachers. Education Resource PDF including YP , tips for trans youth, things to print out at schools Nick has been meeting with Dpt of Education contact, Anne Hebert looking for greater interaction with their professional development days - and to disrupt queerphobia and transphobia.

Madonna Doucette: Cape Breton. I’ve been doing LGBT work in Cape Breton for the last 9 years - now up to Guysborough County. With rural communities there are extra challenges: they are rural AND have a connection to the world; you need to go a little slower and more consistent. We have a long term partnership with Eskasoni which is one of our successes. We have partnerships with … (holds up a bright red knitted penis & scrotum) A community member heard that someone had their packer confiscated. So this was designed by Wonderful Weavers. We can have more made. The crafters doing it have events called “dong-alongs” where they come together to make these. a) these exist and b) there are strangers who care about trans kids who make these. “It felt like superman’s cape” “it was the first time their son had smiled consistently.” We are a small but mighty staff, but we’re full time. A new social support group: a youth choir, big hit with the older 17-25 Programming for us isn’t as successful because of transportation. We’re close to 170 education hours in the schools . We have a good partnership with NSCC - Marconi students are placed with us. And Nova Scotia Works. We’re getting people who need volunteer hours. We design our own marching orders and get ‘er done. We’re a branch, Halifax si the tree, we’re worried about the tree. We’re not trying to gloss over the problems here. We’re going to go forward. The work we’re doing is too important. Failure is not an option. We have members from Cape Breton who are interested in becoming the Board. We can make those voices part of the support structures. Let’s go forward, we have stuff to figure out. Have faith that we can do this. We’re all here for the same reason. Our organization is flawed but it’s saving lives. Keep our eyes on the prize.

Rihanna: Any other staff members want to speak? No.

There are several issues leading to this point: growing very fast, organizational structure that works the best. Need new people to step in because it’s not currently working. There’s not like a great infrastructure. We don’t have a full Board, there’s no ED currently.


Q: are all six here? A: No.

Present: Adam Sigrist, Jennifer Raven, Dave Drapak, Evelyn Wightman Not present: Linsey Vanderwater, Greg Doucette From the floor: ConnorMcKiggan, AC Silver, Sadia McDonald?-Strand, Bria MacKinnon?

Jenniver Raven she/her: in 2016 I was elected to the Halifax School Board. Before they dissolved. I was working on the HSB with one dedicated african nova scotia, 1 first nations, and then by district. I was involved with BGLAD in Northern Ireland, handing out condoms and aids education in a homophobic christian country. I’m an 8-year breast cancer survivor, I sound a lot flakier when I’m talking, than I really am. I really wanted to see a LGBTQ dedicated rep on the School Board. I started university at age 15. I’m a parent. I have a non gender traditional child.

Adam Sigrist he/him: I have a lot of community experience. I worked for Hal Con making sure the nerd community has a more insectional content. I got hired on to the MacPheeCentre for Creative Learning with the mission of making our programs accessible to a broader community. With all the issues of racism is not going to be solved by another white guy, or a team of them. But we need diversity; we can work hard to remember every marginalized community.

Dave Drapak he / him: I’ve been working with queer youth for 22 years. I want to help the board through this transition time. I’m an art teacher particularly connected to black and indigenous students. Someone: and you won an award in this room.

ConnorMcKiggan they/them: Dal student in 5th year; currently is on the board of ISCANS. It does fundraising for Manna For Health. I’ve attended programming at the Youth Project when I was 13. I’m 21 now.

AC Silver they/them: Med Student at Dal: I’ve been working with DalOUT for the last two years. They had imploded in the previous couple years and a group of us came together to restart it for the Dal students. We’re still on the executive at DalOUT.

Sadia McDonald?-Strand: I’ve been on a lot of boards for NGOs all over the world since I was 14. I’m the VP of Events & Programming at DalOUT. It would be nice to find more people of colour. I’m extremely mixed race.

Dave Gruchy: I was around when the YP started in the ‘90s. I went to school with Kim at AcadiaUniversity. I wanted to make sure this place didn’t close. I’ma college instructor. I work in te addictions community outreach program. I got involved in the YP in the Valley. I’ve done work in sexualized violence; served with the dept of health & wellness. I’ve written policy. I’m on several boards and advisory committees.

Evelyn Wightman she/her: website programmer. Worked with cohousing group, bringing cohousing to Windsor; they’ve since merged with a group in Bridgewater. Focus on effective use of tech.

Katelyne Keddy: Two years in the health field, identifying what a barrier is and identifying abilities. I don’t enjoy conflict, but I recognize conflict as an opportunity.

Bria MacKinnon?: Used to work at the Youth Project for 3 years in Halifax and then with Madonna for a few years before that. It was a shitshow when I left and I want to bring something back to the YP and it needs an extreme overhaul.

Q: we should probably just consider people in the room and let them decide about people not in the room.

Questions to the slate of new Board of Directors?

Q: Do you currently have, or might have a potential conflict of interest with any elements of the YP? AND: Can each of you commit 1-2 hours a week for the next six months? A: .. no’s from candidates. Evilyn: relationship with a staff member.

Q: Well intentioned people have signed up with no experience in being on a board, human resources, conflict resolution? Hands please? (probably 7 hands.)

Q: What about racism? You’re a predominantly a white group. Particularly in times of stress. A: • I’m here because of the short term, I hope to step down and put a bipoc person in my place. • I’m working with the Water Protectors. • My work with nonprofits is in recruiting marginalized people • I’m from Guyana and we work with racism at elections and at other times; representation is important but it’s not the most important thing • I’ve done work making sure that there was representation from multiple stakeholders. • One of my degrees is in sociology and social policy, and I work on making safe spaces.

Q: What is Katelyn’s connection to the queer community? A: I don’t spend a lot of time defining connections to communities; being a woman has let me spend a lot of time exploring this… and connecting with people who are fighting for their own community. I don’t identify in any personal way, I draw strength from other people’s choices in their life. It’s important for me to be present with everybody, there’s so much more in the world.

Q: Do you have any experience with unionizing? Hands please. A: 3. Q: Collective agreements? A: none.

Q: We will be hiring your partner’s boss in the next six months. That is a clear conflict of interest.

A: Jasmine As a labour lawyer I would help. . Courtney she/her: I’ve got policy and procedure experience.

Motion: Kevin he/him: There is a problem with the conflict of interests.

Evelyn: I rescind my nomination.

Kevin Kindred: Motion that the slate presented be elected as the next board?

No. We are going to vote on candidates one by one. Candidates leave the room.

Motion: Reduce the board to fit the number of boardmembers as appropriate. Passed.

Count people available to vote: 23

Voting: Yes: Adam: yes. Dave: yes. Connor: yes. AC: yes. Sadia: yes. Dale: yes. Bria: yes No: Jennifer: no. Katelyn: no.

(board returns to room) (Yes: list gets read out.)

Motion: to conduct a needs assessment and create a talent matrix, and to recruit the rest of the board to fill those gaps.

Thank you all for coming.

Meeting was adjourned at 4:20