Statement from Representative Brian Sims & Senator Larry Farnese Regarding the Mazzoni Center

We have closely followed the recent press reports regarding the firing of Kay Martinez, who served as Mazzoni’s Director of Diversity and Inclusion. Additionally, we spoke directly with Nefertari Sloan, a staff member, who was reprimanded for attempting to address inequities and organizational policy, as well as other members of the community.

To say we are frustrated and angered by these reports would be an understatement. After witnessing the shameful events that unfolded over the past two years and what has come to light since, we are fed up with this organization’s inability to live up to the promises of transparency, accountability, and engagement made to us and members of our community. Inclusion and ethnic diversity cannot be espoused as priorities within an institution while discrimination continues to be perpetrated that runs contrary to those policies.

From all reports, Kay Martinez, a queer transgender person of color, is undoubtedly qualified for the role for which they were hired. In our conversations with Mazzoni staff, it was clear that Kay was not only respected for their leadership in working to rectify the longstanding issues of failing to treat Mazzoni staffers of color equitably and respectfully but also needed because many of these same problems continued to plague this organization.

We want to make ourselves unequivocally clear on several key points:

The Board of Directors must hold the leadership of Mazzoni accountable and ensure that the promises made to Mazzoni staff members and the broader LGBT community of Philadelphia are fulfilled.

It is abundantly clear that the Mazzoni Center requires a Director of Diversity and Inclusion as the organization continues to struggle in both of these areas. We believe Kay Martinez should be fully reinstated; their support of Mazzoni staff that led to their termination is evidence of why they are needed.

The Mazzoni Center must live up to the standards it established when working with the community in the wake of its scandal-plagued last two years.