Letters to the Editor

NAACP has never been about any one leader

I was humbled by the personal and prayerful request that my friends and mentors within the NC NAACP made public last week.

I did not make the decision to consider stepping aside from my elected position this summer lightly. I’ve been in deep prayer and fasting about my calling to help lead the new Poor Peoples Campaign. I know this is work I must help with and attempt to guide. Of this, I have no doubt.

But I also know that our work here in North Carolina is critical to the work of the new Poor People’s Campaign and a national Moral Revival.

When I made my initial announcement about stepping down in May, the Supreme Court’s critical decisions about voting rights in North Carolina were not in the landscape, nor was the possibility of drawing new lines and holding a special election in 2017. Further, we did not yet face the prospect of a legislative body passing a budget that would cut millions from the justice department and promote rules that would ban protesters. These and other factors have caused me to reconsider the timing of my departure from leadership.

I cannot and will not seek another term as state president, but for the stability of the movement in these transitional moments, I will stay with God’s help until a new president is elected to lead the NC NAACP in October.

My wife and family support this decision, as well as my church, my team at Repairers of the Breach, and the leadership of the Poor People’s Campaign that invited me to join them. The chair and vice chair of the National NAACP also support this decision.

Theologically, I’ve been reminded that the same Holy Spirit that prompted Paul to go in one direction would make and adjustment in timing based on new realities that arose. Some say the NAACP has survived because it was never about any one leader, and it is true. But the NAACP, like all justice organizations and movements, has also survived because servant leaders like you have made adjustments for the cause.

I can do none of this work alone. With everything in me, I believe in “WE.” We are living in serious times, and because I have heard a call from people who are committed to these serious times, I’m willing to do my part

The Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II