The Nelson and District Women’s Centre is currently unstaffed and has been closed since March 17 because of COVID-19. The board is in the process of hiring an executive director. File photo

Four members of Nelson and District Women’s Centre board resign

Centre is closed during COVID-19 and is currently hiring an executive director

Four members on the board of the Nelson and District Women’s Centre resigned in April.

They were all on one side of a conflicted split that has existed at the centre for several years — a side that tends to be younger and wants the centre to move to more inclusion of non-binary and trans people, and to a more overt activism related to colonialism, class and race.

The board was elected in early December, and its make-up was seen to be an opportunity for reconciliation.

But Amanda Phoenix, one of the board members who resigned along with Sawah Danniels, Devon Brown, and Avery Alder, says that didn’t happen.

“I think that came from a resistance to having these sorts of [values] discussions, and feeling a pressure to address fiscal and operational issues, which are also very real,” Phoenix said.

The remaining board declined to be interviewed for this story but agreed to do so at a later date.

Board member Yvette Janzen said in an email to the Star, “Board members expect to work together recognizing that all board members represent the membership that voted us in. The board remains obligated to carry on with the tasks necessary to the continuation of the organization as we were entrusted to do by the membership.

“At present, all board members are completely immersed in tasks to stabilize the organization including hiring a new executive director and ensuring the women’s centre is ready when we move toward re-opening.”

In a statement on the centre’s website, a list of activities undertaken by the board in recent months includes rectifying issues related to finances, budget, assets, and equipment.

“One of the directions the board received from members at the AGM,” Janzen said, “was to conduct an engagement process to review the mandate of the Nelson & District Women’s Centre. We are committed to developing an exciting and respectful process for that. With the interruptions caused by COVID and the Women’s Centre’s closure, this planning has been slowed for the short term. We will continue to plan and seek funding for an inclusive and meaningful process.”

Phoenix said that to deal with matters of operations and finances effectively, the board needs to know what its shared values are.

“We can’t continue to do the fiscal and structural pieces without looking at what are our values and our collective approach to that,” she said. “And how do we engage as groups who have been very clearly engaged in conflict for two years?”

The resignation letter from Phoenix, Danniels and Brown listed four values they hoped would be discussed: decolonization as one framework for the operations of the centre; opportunities for the most marginalized members of the community to be central in decision-making; elimination of oppression based on race, class, ability, age, and gender by dismantling patriarchy, capitalism, colonialism, and white supremacy; and inclusion of non-binary and trans people.

Asked how adoption of these values might change the operation of the centre, Phoenix said that question can only be answered by the board or by the full membership after discussing these issues in depth.

The women’s centre, which was founded 48 years ago, is currently unstaffed and has been closed since March 17 because of COVID-19.

This article was altered on July 7 to correct the date of the resignations, to add the fact that the current board had said they would be willing to be interviewed by the Star later this year, and to add paragraphs 9 and 10.


Fundraising campaign launched as the Nelson Women’s Centre moves forward

Nelson Women’s Centre elects new board at tense annual general meeting

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Fire damages Harrop nursery

The cause of the blaze is under investigation

LETTER: Time to re-purpose airstrip

From reader John Bowden

Nelson Innovation Centre to host pitch competition

Deadline to apply for the first of three events is Sept. 24

School bus registration now open in SD8

Registration deadline is Sept. 4

BUSINESS BUZZ: COVID and cash, ATCO’s Weatherford heads Selkirk board, and more

Darren Davidson brings us the latest goings-on in the local business world

‘Don’t kill my mom’: Ryan Reynolds calls on young British Columbians to be COVID-smart

‘Deadpool’ celebrity responds to premier’s call for social influence support

Captain Horvat’s OT marker lifts Canucks to 4-3 win over Blues

Vancouver takes 2-0 lead in best-of-7 NHL playoff series with St. Louis

Widow of slain Red Deer doctor thanks community for support ahead of vigil

Fellow doctors, members of the public will gather for a physically-distanced vigil in central Alberta

Protesters showcase massive old yellow cedar as Port Renfrew area forest blockade continues

9.5-foot-wide yellow cedar measured by Ancient Forest Alliance campaigners in Fairy Creek watershed

Taking dog feces and a jackhammer to neighbourhood dispute costs B.C. man $16,000

‘Pellegrin’s actions were motivated by malice …a vindictive, pointless, dangerous and unlawful act’

Racist stickers at Keremeos pub leaves group uneasy and angry

The ‘OK’ hand gesture is a known hate-symbol

VIDEO: World responds to B.C. girl after pandemic cancels birthday party

Dozens of cards and numerous packages were delivered to six-year-old Charlie Manning

Expected fall peak of COVID-19 in Canada could overwhelm health systems: Tam

National modelling projections released Friday show an expected peak in cases this fall

Most Read