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Longtime activist tapped as acting Utah Pride Center director

Published November 20, 2015 8:22 am

Carole Gnade• Former head of ACLU in Utah is ready to 'upright' the organization.
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Longtime activist and former director of the Utah chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union Carol Gnade has been named acting director of the Utah Pride Center.

Gnade, 69, fills the post vacated by the resignation of Marian Edmonds-Allen last month after 11 weeks on the job.

"She's widely respected and admired within the community and with the major supporters of our community," Kent Frogley, head of the Pride Center board, said of Gnade.



Gnade was selected by unanimous vote of the board about two weeks ago. Her term will continue indefinitely as the center's board develops a plan for the future. That includes addressing the center's considerable financial challenges, programming and how best to find a new executive director.

Gnade said she's not deterred by the center's challenges and that, after meeting with staff and the newly elected board members, is encouraged by the center's potential.

"I am hoping to step in with a new set of eyes and leave no stone unturned to upright this organization," she said Thursday. "This community needs a Pride Center. Our task is to save lives, and we do that every day."

Gnade, who recently returned to Salt Lake City after several years in Torrey in southern Utah, was director of the Utah chapter of the ACLU from 1993 to 2007.

In that time, she fought — and won — a battle with state corrections officials to end torture-restraint of prisoners, challenged the Main Street land swap between The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Salt Lake City, and fought for the right of gay and transgender students to organize a gay-straight alliance at East High School.

"The thing that I love about Carol is that she brings a real sense of calm and experience," said Michael Aguilar, who takes over as the center's board chairman in January. "Even in what may be perceived as a difficult time, it feels like anything is possible."

Edmonds-Allen resigned Oct. 26, citing "unsustainable operating conditions" at the Pride Center, including financial problems, a lack of strategic planning, programming challenges and a rocky relationship with the board.

Frogley has said that the center's considerable challenges were discussed with Edmonds-Allen before her selection and that the center community was disappointed that she chose to leave.

jdobner@sltrib.com

 

 

 

 

 

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