The NAACP will not be renewing the contract of its CEO and president, Cornell Brooks, the civil rights group announced Friday.
In announcing a "transformational, system-wide refresh and strategic re-envisioning" in the face of "additional barriers," the NAACP said in a press release that Brooks' leadership will end on June 30th, the end of his current term. Board Chairman Leon Russell and Vice Chair Derrick Johnson will temporarily manage the organization until an perminent replacement is found.
Brooks announced on Twitter that he was "disappointed" to be leaving the NAACP. He has led the NAACP since 2014, when he took over for Lorraine Miller, who had been acting CEO and president after Ben Jealous stepped down in 2013.
At the time, Brooks was hailed as a "pioneering lawyer and civil rights leader, who brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the Association," by then-NAACP Board Chairman Roslyn Brock.
Prior to leading the NAACP, Brooks led the Newark-based New Jersey Institute for Social Justice. He was also a longtime attorney who spent some time working as a senior counsel for the Federal Communications Commission.
According to a New York Times report, part of the thinking behind the NAACP overhaul has to do with an apparent need to more effectively push back against the Trump administration and its policies, though Brooks was no stranger to the task. He was arrested in January taking part in a sit-in at Sen. Jeff Sessions' office in Alabama to protest his nomination to be attorney general.
The Times report also mentioned that the NAACP feels somewhat overshadowed now by the Black Lives Matter movement, which may be part of the motivation behind the NAACP Board also announcing its intention to embark on a listening tour for the first time in the group's history.
"These changing times require us to be vigilant and agile, but we have never been more committed or ready for the challenges ahead," Russell said in the press release. "We know that our hundreds of thousands of members and supporters expect a strong and resilient NAACP moving forward, as our organization has been in the past, and it remains our mission to ensure the advancement of communities of color in this country."