Concord LGBTQ center executive director to depart

  • by Matthew S. Bajko, Assistant Editor
  • Friday October 28, 2022
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Kiku Johnson will soon depart as executive director of the Rainbow Community Center in Concord. Photo: Courtesy RCC
Kiku Johnson will soon depart as executive director of the Rainbow Community Center in Concord. Photo: Courtesy RCC

Several months shy of his three-year mark in the position, Kiku Johnson is departing as executive director of the Rainbow Community Center in Concord. His last day leading the Contra Costa County LGBTQ service provider will be Friday, November 18.

In an emailed announcement October 28, Johnson disclosed he was stepping down next month after accepting an offer to lead Outside In based in Portland, Oregon. The federally qualified health center provides services to the city's LGBTQIA+ community, people of color, immigrants, and the underserved.

"I feel I was poised to be able to serve with Rainbow in a very specific time of change and recovery," wrote Johnson. "I have been committed and passionate about lifting our staff, culture, and our work throughout my tenure here, and I have complete belief Rainbow will continue to thrive and serve our communities as the next leadership representation is sought and landed."

Johnson has brought steady leadership to the LGBTQ center and helmed it through the upheavals of the COVID pandemic. Last month, he presided over the grand opening party celebrating Rainbow's move to its new location at 2380 Salvio Street, Suite 301.

"After three long, isolating and difficult years for all — especially the LGBTQIA+ community and their allies — the ability to come in person and join together in community can be truly lifesaving. We look forward to seeing more and more folks in person — especially for events, our social and support groups for youth, adults and seniors, and our STI/HIV testing and support services," Johnson had told the B.A.R. ahead of the new location's opening.

Johnson, a transgender man of color, became the Rainbow center's executive director on February 10, 2020. As the Bay Area Reporter noted in January of that year, the nonprofit had been without an executive director since November 2019, when Jack Rednour-Bruckman left to take a new job in Southern California.

Rednour-Bruckman, who identifies as nonbinary and a butch queer, had been hired as the center's consulting interim director in April 2019 following the resignation of former executive director Kevin McAllister less than a year in the job. His leaving was sparked by an outcry over the sudden firing several months prior of most of the center's counseling staff.

Impressed by Rednour-Bruckman's handling of the job, the center's board hired them as the executive director officially as of May 1, 2019. By that point the center had churned through three leaders following the retirement in December 2017 of Ben-David Barr, Ph.D., citing health reasons. He had been the center's executive director for a decade.

Johnson, in his resignation email announcement, wrote, "I have great faith as to the purpose of Rainbow's mission, vision, and values being carried forth with centering our most marginalized identities while serving the entirety of the LGBTQIA+ community, past and present. Rainbow has redefined and strengthened its identity, presence, service delivery, and partnership these last nearly three years."

He added that he is working on a transition plan with the center's board president, Robyn Kuslits, and the agency's six-member leadership team.

"We are landing interim and permanent leadership steps that Rainbow will adopt moving forward and share out soon," wrote Johnson.

For more information about the Rainbow center and the services it provides, visit its website.

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