Equality California Executive Director Roland Palencia Resigns After Three Months

Roland Palencia, who began his tenure as Executive Director of Equality California on July 5, succeeding former head Geoff Kors, will step down as of Friday, October 14, the organization reports.

Palencia Reports Karen Ocamb of LGBT POV:

When asked why he was stepping down, Palencia hesitated. He then agreed to go through with the interview for Frontiers, a portion of which will be posted immediately on FrontiersLA.com

Palencia is very concerned about Equality California as an organization:

“I want to make sure that everyone supports the organization. This is the time for all of us to rally and support Equality California. I have seen how this organization literally changes lives. It is a community asset and we have to keep our eye on the prize.”

In a press release, Equality California said it would have a transition plan in place by the end of the week:

“During his tenure with Equality California, Roland Palencia did important work to build diverse and inclusive coalitions and engage and reconnect our movement,” said Cathy Schwamberger, Equality California Institute Board Chair. “That work has helped to position our movement to fight back against attacks on the LGBT community and protect advances in equality–the effects of which will impact our movement for years to come. We are grateful for his service to Equality California and his contributions to our movement and wish him the best in all of his future endeavors.”


  1. ohplease says

    I wish this were a surprise. EQCA is a mess. They’ve done a lot of good — they’ve even done a lot of good recently — but they have, among other things and for reasons nobody will explain, made it their goal to keep marriage equality out of California. We can only assume that this is because if California had marriage equality — like it once did, before EQCA sat by and watched it be stolen from us — then there would quickly be no need for EQCA.

    It is a business that is in the business of our inequality. They have just as much a stake in keep us unequal as NOM or any other business that makes their money from our oppression.

    That they are ineptly-run hasn’t been news since 2008.

  2. QJ201 says

    Either the Board of Directors of EQCA hated him or he hated the Board. I also find it utterly ridiculous that the EQCA put out the standard “copy and paste” press release “During his tenure he did important work.” Really, in three months as ED?

  3. Raphael says

    EQCA is a failure. Their decision to skip the battle on Prop 8 in 2012 is proof that they’ve been completely ineffective over the post four years (!!!) in overturning this law.

    We need much better leadership who will actually hold politicians accountable for their promises to the LGBT community.

  4. dms says

    This is a shock to me. I just went to a fundraiser they had at CAA in Los Angeles where Bank of America gave them a $50k grant. I actually spoke with RP and he seemed like he had some interesting goals. I actually support keeping prop 8 off the 2012 ballot. What if it failed again? Has anything really changed in the last few years? Minorities and families afraid for the children will still vote against it. They seemed to have realized this and instead of taking prop 8 back to the ballot they have plans to do outreach and education in the communities where people are mis and uninformed about gay people. Damn, now I really regret forking over cash.

  5. Justin says

    This is good news. I saw this fellow speak at a local meeting recently and he was not impressive at all. Seem in way over his head and not ready for primetime.

  6. says

    What a relief. Palencia was completely out of touch with the non A-List Gays; M.I.A. during Prop H8, he appears to have been more focused on the Obama campaign than on the war on marriage taking place right in his own backyard.

    Of course, this does indeed show what a mess EQCA is — but perhaps by collapsing in on itself, something good will rise from the ashes. The only unfortunate effect of Palencia’s abrupt departure is the way the anti-gays will point to it as some sort of “victory.” It’s a P.R. hit for LGBTs in general, no matter how disconnected EQCA is from the real world.

    For the record, I’m glad to see EQCA did something right for once: To return to the ballot in 2012 — when you’ll have the same pro-Obama/anti-gay voters out in force; when the LGBT community is still recovering, financially and otherwise, from the toll of Prop H8; when no one has the first clue how to proceed with a winning campaign for a change; with EQCA more likely than not to seize the reins again, ignore everybody but their biggest donors, and screw it all up as badly as it did the first time around; and before we know the final outcome of the Perry case — would be pointless and even dangerous. No matter how promising the polls sound these days, we could easily lose again — and then what? Everybody move to Vermont? Just kill ourselves? The stakes are far too high to trust to the shortsighted, unorganized, monumental failure that is EQCA.

    Of course, civil rights should never, EVER be put to a vote; the ballot should be the last resort when all other options have been exhausted.

    If the survivors of EQCA doesn’t know what to do with themselves without a lucrative state campaign in their immediate future, they should turn their focus toward eliminating the real problem: DOMA.