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Woke MS Society Fires 90-Year-Old Volunteer Over Pronoun Question — After 60+ Years of Service

The National MS Society fires a woman who volunteered for over 60 years for asking about pronouns, sparking widespread criticism.

In a shocking display of misplaced priorities, the National MS Society has made headlines not for its commendable work in supporting multiple sclerosis patients but for its bewildering decision to dismiss a 90-year-old volunteer, Fran Itkoff. A colleague of Itkoff requested she list her pronouns in her email signatures, which prompted Itkoff to ask what pronouns meant; she was given a vague answer and fired shortly thereafter. With six decades of dedicated service, Itkoff’s dismissal over her confusion regarding pronouns is a stark reminder of how far some organizations will go in the name of “diversity and inclusion” policies, at the expense of common sense and the very spirit of volunteerism. Even more disgracefully, it fired Itkoff by email.

Fran Itkoff’s story is a sad testament to the times we live in. After serving the MS community for over sixty years, her commitment was abruptly disregarded due to a perceived failure to align with the organization’s diversity policies. Itkoff’s supposed infraction? A simple query about the use of pronouns in email signatures, a concept foreign to someone of her generation. This incident reveals a troubling trend where adherence to policy overshadows the value of human contribution and intent.

The National MS Society’s response to the backlash has been equally appalling. Instead of backtracking and apologizing for their outrageous decision, they have chosen to defend their actions under the guise of maintaining inclusivity. This rigid stance not only demonstrates a lack of empathy but also a misunderstanding of what true inclusion entails. It’s ironic that an organization, which prides itself on support and understanding, would exclude a long-serving volunteer over a minor misunderstanding.

Criticism of the organization’s decision has been swift and fierce. Supporters and social media users alike have condemned the move as ageist and intolerant. Many have called into question the society’s values, suggesting that donors reconsider their support. This outcry is a clear indicator that the public expects more from such organizations—more compassion, more understanding, and more appreciation for those who dedicate their lives to service.

This incident is not just about Fran Itkoff or the National MS Society. It’s a reflection of a broader societal issue where the fear of offending has led to a culture of exclusion, ironically under the banner of inclusion. Policies and guidelines are essential, but they should never be wielded as tools of division. They should serve to foster understanding, respect, and unity, especially among those committed to a common cause.

As we navigate these complex social waters, let Fran Itkoff’s story serve as a reminder of the real values that should guide our organizations and communities: respect, understanding, and gratitude for the selfless service of volunteers like her. The National MS Society missed an opportunity to embody these values, and in doing so, it not only lost a dedicated volunteer but also a part of its soul.

Robert Chernin

Robert Chernin

Robert B. Chernin has brought his years of political consulting and commentary back to radio. As a longtime entrepreneur, business leader, fundraiser and political confidant, Robert has a unique perspective with insights not heard anyway else. Robert has consulted on federal and statewide campaigns at the gubernatorial, congressional, senatorial, and presidential level. He served in leadership roles in the presidential campaigns of President George W. Bush as well as McCain for President. He led Florida’s Victory 2004’s national Jewish outreach operations as Executive Director. In addition, he served on the President’s Committee of the Republican Jewish Coalition. Robert co-founded and served as president of the Electoral Science Institute, a non-profit organization that utilizes behavioral science to increase voter participation and awareness. Robert can be heard on multiple radio stations and viewed on the “Of the People” podcast where you get your podcasts.