Ben Jealous announced on yesterday that he will be stepping down as the president of the NAACP effective Dec. 31, 2013. Jealous who has held the position of CEO of the oldest and largest civil rights organization plans to spend more time with his family and ultimately devote his time to teaching the next generation of leaders in the constant battle for social justice.
Jealous has been at the forefront of many legislative advancements during his five year tenure at the helm of the NAACP including a recent victory in the state of Maryland which extends voting rights and privileges instead of repressing them. Many states are enacting regressive voting laws in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Most recent is the bill which was signed in North Carolina which is the most regressive bill inhibiting voting privileges of any state in the country. Equally as regressive is the bill being held up by the Justice Department in the state of Texas which went into preliminary development only hours after the Supreme Court’s decision.
During an interview with Don Lemon on CNN yesterday, Jealous was asked if he is being pressured by the board of the NAACP to step down. Lemon further prodded Jealous to divulge whether or not he’s being lured by some other organization or interest group.
Jealous replied to this question by saying:
'Yes, there is. His name is Jack, and her name is Morgan.'
Jealous was referring to his 1-year -old son and his 7-year-old daughter. It goes without saying that he intends to spend more time with his wife Lia as well. Jealous feels confident that whoever the board selects to replace him will take over an organization that stands on a strong financial footing. In regards to this concern he said:
"The NAACP has always been the largest civil rights organization in the streets, and today it is also the largest civil rights organization online, on mobile and at the ballot box too," Jealous said in a statement issued Sunday afternoon. "I am proud to leave the Association financially sound, sustainable, focused, and more powerful than ever."
Recently Jealous along with all the other civil rights leaders have come under fire from the pundits in the conservative media as being race hustlers. Most notably was the protest against the Sanford Police Department when several organizations demanded an arrest of George Zimmerman for the murder of Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman was arrested, tried and acquitted for that murder which sparked an outcry for the repeal of “Stand Your Ground” laws in every state that allows this vigilante form of justice.
Jealous through the NAACP Legal Defense Fund has been petitioning the Justice Department to bring charges against George Zimmerman for violating the civil rights of Trayvon Martin. It’s a sad commentary when a society will defend the rights of one individual to defend and stand his ground while at the same time ignoring the reality that the both Zimmerman and Martin should have had those same rights. With the portrayal of race hustlers as defined by Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity and Rush Limbuagh, being anyone who stands up for the civil rights of Black and Brown citizens, the century old struggle of “Justice for All,” is a battle that hasn't been won.
Jealous who took over the NAACP at the age of 35 is now 40 and will be a voice to be reckoned with for years to come. His guidance of the organization has raised the bar for his successor and demands that the concerns and struggles of all people of color be addressed in a diplomatic and dignified manner regardless what label the lame stream media puts on them.