June 19, 2020
We are current and former Planned Parenthood Great Plains (PPGP) Public Affairs, Development, Health Services, and Education and Outreach staff who stand in solidarity with the calls of 90 current and former staff from Planned Parenthood of Greater New York (PPGNY) for the removal of its President and CEO, Laura McQuade. The horrific behavior that PPGNY staff described in their open letter — yelling, berating, slamming fists, verbally abusing staff, bullying employees, and mass layoffs — is consistent with our own painful experiences under McQuade’s leadership at PPGP (formerly known as Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri) between 2014 and 2017. Like the New York affiliates, we also experienced a haphazard merger under McQuade’s leadership that left employees unprepared and overwhelmed, leaving many no choice but to resign, some after decades of service to their communities. The turnover rate at PPGP was very high for much of McQuade’s tenure, and surveys showed PPGP employee satisfaction was the lowest of all Planned Parenthood affiliates in the nation. PPGP was placed on probation by the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) auditing organization due to a multitude of management failures traceable to McQuade’s directives. PPGP staff reached out to PPFA more than a year ago to warn of McQuade’s behavior and management failures, but our warning went unheeded, as did the warnings of PPGNY staff. Failing up is a luxury not afforded to people of color, and disappointingly all too common for the white women within the organization.
The PPGP executive team under McQuade, as well as the board of directors who were charged with supervising her, are all culpable for witnessing and not responding appropriately to her abusive behavior. In fact, some board members added to the trauma and burden staff of color carried under McQuade’s tenure. Fighting for our reproductive rights in states that are known to be hostile to our mission is no excuse for the mistreatment that staff repeatedly faced under McQuade’s leadership and beyond. Politicians burdened us all with enough problems without having to fight our own.
A reckoning within the Planned Parenthood organization — across affiliates and the national office at PPFA — is long past due. It’s not enough to just say ‘Black Lives Matter’ or ‘Defund the Police’ if our own systems continue to oppress Black and non-Black people of color. Standing for the Planned Parenthood mission means fighting to dismantle these systems of oppression and white supremacy both in our communities and within our own organizations. Our fight to ensure all people have reproductive freedom will fail unless and until we fight for racial justice and workers’ rights with as much energy as we fight for gender equity. We stand with our friends at PPGNY and across the Federation who are demanding full accountability and real change from the leaders at all levels of our movement.
Join the list of signers by following the link below.
7 anonymous former PPGP staff members
Aaron W, 3 years of service, Public Affairs
Ashley W, 4 years of service, Public Affairs
Charrese D, 15 years of service, Clinical Services
Chrissie F, 1 year of service, Public Affairs
Cortney B, 2.5 years of service, Public Affairs
Darci M, 2 years of service, Development
Dilara Y, 2 years of service, Public Affairs
Elise H, 4 years of service, Public Affairs
Erin H, 3 years of service, Public Affairs
Iman A, current PPGP MD
Jack A, 2.5 years of service
Karina B, 2.5 years of service, multiple departments
Kayah S, 1 year of service, Public Affairs
Lori N, 5 years of service
Maggie H, 2 years of service, Education and Outreach
Sabrina W, 16 years of service
Saed H, 2.5 years of service, Education & Outreach
Sara H, 3 years of service
Sharon B, 2 years of service, Billing
Travis, 4 years of service
Vicky L, 7 years of service, Public Affairs