“While many NAACP members are dedicated to promoting equity, unfortunately I no longer believe the overall organizational culture of the NAACP prioritizes this goal,” wrote Annan, 40. He called the organization a “rubber stamp” for priorities set by elected officials.
“I’ve grown increasingly frustrated and disillusioned by this over time which has made it difficult for me to carry on,” he wrote. “And yes my recent confrontation with the former branch president is linked with this.”
Annan attacked former chapter leader Shirley Ginwright in angry text messages after she called his approach toward local police too confrontational.
“It’s bootlickin a-- n---as like you that make the black community disrespect the NAACP,” Annan wrote to Ginwright, 70, whose lawyer — state Sen. Chap Petersen (D-Fairfax City) —sent a cease-and-desist letter ordering Annan to stop contacting her. Annan later apologized for the text.
Until Annan’s decision to resign took him out of the running, the two were opponents in the NAACP’s fall election for state conference president.
In an interview Monday, Annan said the controversy over his text message became too much of a distraction, reinforcing his doubts about the organization as a whole. “Everything just kind of came to a head,” he said. “I figured now would be a good time to just walk away.”
Annan rose to prominence as a community leader in the Black Lives Matter era, and he favored an aggressive approach to addressing problems in the African American community.
He was unrelenting in calls for Gov. Ralph Northam (D) to resign after revelations that the governor wore blackface as a young man, and pushed Fairfax to change its policies on school resource officers after the NAACP analyzed police data and found that students of color were disproportionately being arrested for suspected bad behavior.
A revised memorandum of understanding between the county schools and police department limits the role resource officers play in student discipline and removed language allowing them to “stop and frisk” students.
The dispute with Ginwright stemmed from statements by Fairfax County Police Chief Edwin C. Roessler Jr. that characterized a string of shootings as gang-related.
During a community meeting, Annan called that claim part of a larger pattern by police of mislabeling violence in minority communities and said racial profiling by Fairfax police is a continuing problem.
Ginwright, a veteran of the civil rights movement who once marched with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., called for a more cooperative relationship with county police — prompting Annan’s messages.
On Monday, Ginwright, who lobbied for Annan to be removed from office after receiving his texts and remains a candidate to lead the state conference, said his decision to step down is good for the NAACP.
“I wish him well in whatever he decides to do,” she said.
In his Facebook post, Annan was conciliatory — thanking county elected officials, Roessler and others with whom he had disagreed.
“I know I was not always easy to deal with, and I’m very aware that my approach was unlike my predecessors,” he wrote. He also said he intends to remain active in African American issues.
Annan’s successor as president will be Sean Perryman, who served as the Fairfax chapter’s first vice president, a spokesman said.
The chapter’s executive committee worked to smooth over relations by praising Annan’s “tireless advocacy” in a statement that also included a lengthy apology to Ginwright, Roessler and county Board of Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova (D).
“The Executive Committee denounces Mr. Annan’s use of derogatory language towards Ms. Ginwright, as well as his negative comments about Fairfax County officials,” the statement read.