After not publicly responding for about 10 days to allegations from Karla Estrada and others, on Friday afternoon, Iván Ceja posted the following public statement on Facebook, indicating that he is resigning as executive director of UndocuMedia. Here is Ceja’s statement:
I am aware and affected by the allegations made against me. I apologize for the delay in my response, but I wanted to make sure I was understanding each individual’s statements and finding opportunities where I can correct my behavior.
I had an amicable relationship with Karla Estrada that, for me, turned into romantic feelings. My genuine interest in her eventually motivated me to to ask her if I could kiss her.
Ms. Estrada asked for a meeting with members of our team to discuss my behavior. In this meeting (November 2017), I apologized to her and expressed my deep remorse for making her uncomfortable.
My actions towards Ms. Estrada were inappropriate. While they were rooted in genuine interest, they were irresponsible, insensitive and invasive. Ms. Estrada and I began to form a good bond, one which I misread and took advantage of when I was in a vulnerable time in my life. In retrospect, I think those feelings were rooted in loneliness, confusion, and ego which may have prevented me from behaving with more respect. In no way do I want my actions to threaten the livelihood, career, and peace of mind of any individual. I offer my sincerest apologies to Ms. Estrada.
@Undocumedia, including myself, have been supportive of Ms. Estrada and her professional and personal endeavors. While I have apologized to Ms. Estrada in-person, I understand the importance of speaking our truths and demanding the apologies we are deserving of.
In regards to the allegations made by Yadira Martinez, I sincerely apologize for any behavior, on my end, that made her feel uncomfortable and disrespected.
In regards to the allegations made against me regarding racism, I have to denounce them. Undocumedia was founded on educating, protecting, and defending all POC. However, I do apologize if my actions or inactions made my allies feel hurt and disrespected. I understand that as a leader in this fight, my stance with the POC community should be a firm and loyal one at all times. Furthermore, I hope you see that my actions, and contributions to our POC community say otherwise.
In holding myself accountable for my actions. I will continue to have the necessary conversations with those I have hurt in order to better understand my wrongdoings in hopes to become a better, wholesome individual.
Additionally, I will continue to advance in our struggle for greater respect and protection of our many vulnerable and marginalized communities. Finally, to serve you better, I have decided to resign from my position as Executive Director at @Undocumedia.
Last Sunday, Latino Rebels Radio spoke to Estrada about the allegations.
UPDATE, UndocuMedia co-founder Justino Mora also posted his own update on Friday:
This morning, Ivan Ceja resigned as Executive Director of UndocuMedia.
I first want to acknowledge the women that came out publicly with their testimonies (Karla M. Estrada, Denae Joseph, Yadira Martinez, and Ivonne Franco) and commend them for their courage and leadership! I’d like to thank the thousands of people that helped pressure Ivan to resign and the people that are behind the scenes providing us with their support, advice, and guidance.
I want to be clear about something: this is NOT over yet! Ivan’s resignation is a first step in the right direction. More needs to be done to bring about justice, transformative change, and a new era for the organization.
Before I talk about this new era for UndocuMedia, I want to express my thoughts about Ivan’s resignation statement. Ivan’s statement is vague and fails to address many of the women’s demands and also my internal demands for accountability, change, and transparency. Ivan needs to practice critical self-reflection in order to understand the extent of his actions and the serious pain and damage he caused. I hope he takes the time to reflect, take full responsibility for his actions, and strive to become a better human being.
Justice is needed for Rebecca Medina who was forced out from the organization by Francisco J. Barragán (Ivan’s uncle) and Chairman of the Board of Directors. A new phase for UndocuMedia is beginning to take place.
UndocuMedia needs to be radically transformed from the inside out. Seeing the need of this, about a month ago, I reached out to several experienced and long-time immigrant rights organizers and leaders to start working on a peaceful transition for the organization. I am excited to announce that some of the OG founders of UndocuMedia (Nancy Meza, Julio Salgado, Jesús Iñiguez) among other leaders have expressed their support and interest in being part of this new era for the organization.
At this point in time, I plan to leave the movement by the end of this year OR sooner, in order to reflect, heal, and pursue other interests and dreams. I promise to work hard and do my due diligence to help oversee a transition process for the organization. I am committed to transparency and accountability.
Checks and balances are desperately needed. To avoid the abuse of power, lack of transparency, lack of communication, discrimination, anti-blackness, sexism, discrimination, etc. the organization needs to be radically restructured and transformed:
1) the Board of Directors needs to be significantly expanded.
2) Francisco Barragan (Chairman of the Board of Directors) needs to communicate with me, cooperate, and step down from his position. Rebecca Medina needs to be recognized as a FULL member of the board of directors.
3) An Advisory Committee needs to be created
4) My vision for a Co-Directorship model needs to be implemented. (This is part of Checks and Balances)
5) A diverse group of people needs to be recruited in order to lead the organization. This group of individuals NEEDS to reflect our rich and diverse undocumented immigrant community. It CANNOT be a Latinx-led organization, it CANNOT be led by men. Our Facebook and Instagram audiences are 70% women, it only seems fair that we start there and ensure UndocuMedia becomes a women-led organization.
6) Contrary to popular belief, we don’t have salaries at UndocuMedia and our budget is ridiculously small. I’ve been working since early Feb. without pay. Exploitation by the non-profit complex is real. Our organization needs to pay a living wage to its staff and my goal is to ensure that Foundations and funders recognize our VALUE, our UNTAPPED potential, and FULLY support the people doing the work.
7) The UndocuMedia platform is perhaps the largest organic-grown audience in the country – this is thanks to the people who believe and supported us. This is thanks to other amazing content creators! Y’all need recognition too.
8. In order to serve y’all better, empower communities, and deliver better content to our audiences, the organization needs to focus more time on the creation of original content. An effective and time-efficient mechanism to review content before it is published needs to be set in place.
9) There is more and I will share them with y’all in the coming days. I ask for everyone’s patience.
Again, this is a first step in the right direction, I ask for everyone’s support during this tumultuous time. Any questions & thoughts, please comment below.