Gugulethu Moyo has resigned as the executive director of Tucson’s Jewish History Museum.
The Zimbabwean lawyer, who was the first black Jew to lead an American Jewish museum, resigned on Monday last week citing gender and racial discrimination.
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Moyo’s speech last week at a conference for staff members at American Jewish museums was supposed to help chart an optimistic future for the field.
According to The Jewish News, she had planned to talk about how to cultivate leaders from marginalized groups in museums, drawing on her experience as the first Jew of colour to head a Jewish museum, on a panel Wednesday called “Space Makers and Risk Takers.”
Instead, Moyo felt compelled to share some surprising news with her audience: She had just resigned as the executive director of Tucson’s Jewish History Museum. She told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency:
I told them, ‘I can’t talk about that because I was unable any longer to make space for me.
Moyo’s resignation followed a period of increasing acrimony between her and the Jewish History Museum’s board.
Six months after the museum’s board unanimously selected her to lead the museum, Moyo is publicly accusing the board of dysfunction fueled by racism and sexism. Said Moyo:
I faced gender discrimination and racism, and it was a toxic environment with the board never letting me run the organisation I was hired to run. I was not treated as a leader.
Meanwhile, the board is threatening to sue Moyo for allegedly leaking private information.
Speaking through a public relations firm, the incoming board chair of the museum, Eric Schindler, the CEO of a local social services nonprofit, rejected Moyo’s allegations of racism and sexism.
Schindler declined to comment on Moyo’s performance as executive director, saying it’s a confidential personnel matter.