NAACP dismisses president as organization reimagines itself to address 21st century challenges

Monique Judge, The Root | 5/20/2017, 12:05 p.m.
After three years in the position, NAACP President Cornell Brooks was voted out by the organization’s national board on Friday, ...
Cornell William Brooks (Susan Walsh/AP)

After three years in the position, NAACP President Cornell Brooks was voted out by the organization’s national board on Friday, as they pledge a “systemwide refresh” and “strategic re-envisioning” to best position the historic civil rights organization to “confront the realities of today’s volatile political, media and social climates.”

In a press release on Friday, the group announced that Brooks will remain at the organization until the end of his term on June 30th, and Board Chairman Leon W. Russell and Vice Chair Derrick Johnson will manage the organization on an interim basis until a new leader is named.

“Our organization has been at the forefront of America, making tremendous strides over the last hundred years,” Leon W. Russell, chairman of the Board of Directors, said. “However, modern day civil rights issues facing the NAACP, like education reform, voting rights and access to affordable health care, still persist and demand our continued action.”

“In the coming months, the NAACP will embark upon a historic national listening tour to ensure that we harness the energy and voices of our grassroots members, to help us achieve transformational change, and create an internal culture designed to push the needle forward on civil rights and social justice,” Derrick Johnson, vice-chairman of the NAACP Board of Directors, said.

The NAACP Board said that everyone will have a place at the table, including its staff, the new movements for social change, local organizers helping to rebuild neighborhoods, the faith leaders and other traditional and historic African-Americans organizations that provide much needed services to their communities, social justice advocates tackling income inequality, the millions of marchers who have taken to streets for women rights and immigrant rights, the activists who are fighting for equality for the LGBTQ Americans, business leaders and philanthropists lending private sector support, and the long-time civil rights guardians who have spilled blood so that we can enjoy the freedoms we have today.

The organization also announced that it will go on a listening tour for the first time in its history.

“As the organization reimagines ourselves, it is determined to be formed in the likeliness of the people whom it serves – and to do so, the Board will work to see, meet and listen to them,” the statement said.

“These changing times require us to be vigilant and agile, but we have never been more committed or ready for the challenges ahead. We know that our hundreds of thousands of members and supporters expect a strong and resilient NAACP moving forward, as our organization has been in the past, and it remains our mission to ensure the advancement of communities of color in this country,” Russell said.