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NAACP Branch President Quits, Alleging ‘Racist Marginalization’ Within the Organization

Dr. Vanessa Toolsie has just resigned as the President of the NAACP’s Orange County, Florida, branch. In the text of a recent Facebook post Toolsie, the organization’s first South Asian leader, described the circumstances that led to her departure. Specifically, Toolsie cited “harassment and racist marginalization,” as well as “sabotage of branch meetings,” “verbal attacks” and attempts to exclude her from the branch’s annual gala event. Toolsie made reference to those she called “a loud and discriminatory few” who targeted her due to her heritage being both Indian and Trinidadian. In the lengthy post to the organization’s Facebook page, Toolsie wrote, “I have tried to resolve this internally for months, but no action to curb the harassment and racist marginalization was taken by superiors prior to my resignation announcement.” She apologized for the dysfunction of the Orange County branch and thanked “all of the branch Executive Committee members and branch members who have repeatedly tried to stand up for me, loudly and proudly, amidst the constant attacks.” “Although it was not from most members, a loud discriminatory few can be extremely disruptive, and can even cause derailment of meetings as we have seen, and unfortunately continue to see the straggling efforts of this hatred even amidst my resignation,” she explained. “As someone who strongly stands against racism, I cannot be silently complicit in the disproportionately substandard, marginalizing racist treatment against me any longer,” the post concluded. “Taking a strong stance against racism not only includes standing up for others, but also includes taking a strong stance against racism targeted towards yourself.” Just a week before, on Aug. 8, Toolsie had met with the Orange County Sheriff John Mina to discuss police brutality and discuss Asian and Pacific Islander representation in the department. According to BET, an NAACP spokesman for the Orange County Branch John Cummings responded to her resignation in a statement. “I am concerned about this person and the charges that were made. We don’t want to overlook or dehumanize or, in any way, cause anybody problems or concern intentionally or unintentionally,” Cummings wrote. The Orlando Sentinel wrote that during a virtual membership meeting on Monday evening, Toolsie read her resignation to the group via Zoom. The Sentinel reported that “One person spoke objecting to the reading, calling Toolsie’s claims ‘false allegations against the executive committee’ while another person used the chat feature to submit a written question asking if Toolsie had proof of her claims to present to the board.” A third member asked what would be done to prevent anyone else from having an experience like Toolsie’s. In the end, nothing was done about it during the meeting, apparently. There was no further discussion about Toolsie’s 6-month long tenure as NAACP branch president and the experiences she had. With a subsequent post to her personal Facebook profile, Toolie wrote, “I will NO LONGER tolerate ANY racism against me for being a #ProudBrownWoman of #SouthAsian and #Caribbean descent.” [firefly_embed] [/firefly_embed] “The fact that I have consistently been made to endure this hateful racism in anti-racist spaces is abhorrently shameful.” The current first vice-president of the Orange County branch, Tiara Robinson, will take over Toolsie’s post after it is vacated Wednesday, as reported by The Associated Press. The Western Journal requested comment from the NAACP national office and did not receive a reply prior to publication. This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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