The national board of the NAACP is expected to vote to dismiss its president, The New York Times reports.
Cornell William Brooks has occupied the position for three years, but the board is vowing to execute a “system-wide refresh” in order to challenge and confront President Trump more intensely.
Brooks reportedly said he was “baffled” and saddened by the decision. He is expected to make his exit at the end of next month when his contract expires.
In the meantime, the group will start searching for a new leader, while Chairman of the board, Leon W. Russell, and Vice-Chairman, Derrick Johnson, oversee the organization’s day-to-day operations.
The group needs to change in order to effectively push back against Trump’s take on voting rights laws, public education, environmental policy and the criminal justice system, according to Johnson and Russell.
“We are in a transitional moment,” Johnson said. “This is the opportune time to begin to look at all our functions as an association and see, are we the right fit for the current reality?”
Brooks told the paper the criticism seemed misplaced, and that he received pushback from some members of the board for being arrested in January. At the time, he was conducting an hours-long sit-in at then-Senator Jeff Sessions’ Mobile, Ala., office. Brooks, along with several other protesters were demanding that the now U.S. attorney general withdraw his name from consideration for the position.
“I’m not ashamed of a mugshot that we earned standing against Senator Sessions and for voting rights,” Brooks said Friday. “For the NA to be the NAACP that history calls us to be, we need to stand at the sides of young people who are standing on the front lines of social justice wherever that happens to be, even if it means in jail.”
Brooks became president of the NAACP just before America entered intense conversation on the police-involved shooting deaths of African-Americans like Mike Brown, Eric Garner and Sandra Bland. Since then, Brooks has pushed for concrete changes by advocating a study of policing patterns in Ferguson, Missouri, and filing lawsuits aimed at improving water conditions related to the Flint water crisis.
“The NAACP has been visible, vocal, multiracial and youth-supported,” he said. “There have been many leaders with many different styles at the NAACP. My hope is that in the future, we will have fewer of them, staying longer.”