Baltimore, MD – NAACP Interim President and CEO Lorraine C. Miller has accepted the resignation of Los Angeles NAACP President Leon Jenkins.
His resignation comes amidst the firestorm of controversy surrounding a plan to give L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling a lifetime-achievement award by the branch for promoting civil rights.
In his letter of resignation, Mr Jenkins stated, “Please be advised that the legacy, history and reputation of the NAACP is more important to me than the presidency. In order to separate the Los Angeles NAACP and the NAACP from the negative exposure I have caused the NAACP, I respectfully resign my position as President of the Los Angeles NAACP.”
The decision to award Sterling the lifetime-achievement prize drew some groans because of his troubled history with race relations. In 2006, Sterling was on the receiving end of a lawsuit from the U.S. Justice Department over alleged housing discrimination. In 2009, the real estate magnate paid out $2.7 million in a settlement over similar allegations, according to records.
Sterling was already the recipient of an award from the Los Angeles chapter of the NAACP in 2009 — the first year of Jenkins’ presidency.
The national office of the NAACP is now developing guidelines for its branches to help them in their award selection process.
Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest nonpartisan civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities.