President Kofi Annan tendered his resignation as President of the Fairfax County NAACP and it is with profound regret that the Executive Committee has accepted the resignation of Kofi Annan as of Sunday, July 28. Annan resigned for personal reasons, but his resignation did follow a story in the Washington Post about a dispute with former branch president Shirley Ginwright. Despite the private nature of the dispute in the context of a personal text message conversation with Ms. Ginwright, the Executive Committee denounces Mr. Annan’s use of derogatory language towards Ms. Ginwright, as well as his negative comments about Fairfax County officials - NAACP said in a statement.
Our primary focus as an organization is to address the myriad of issues Fairfax County residents face on a daily basis, from education and affordable housing, to community policing. The Fairfax NAACP chapter just completed a community service project benefiting the Capital Area Food Bank earlier this month. In partnership with the Fairfax County Police, we’re preparing for the Cops and Kids Basketball game next month. It’s unfortunate that in the midst of a busy summer, we have to be distracted by what amounts to an interpersonal matter between two individuals who have known each other for years.
On behalf of the Executive Committee, we apologize to Ms. Ginwright for the disrespectful comments made by our former president. They do not reflect the attitude or values of this Board. Ms. Ginwright is always welcome to attend our events and share her perspective.
The Executive committee apologizes to Chairman Sharon Bulova. Though we’ve had our share of disagreements, Chairman Bulova has been a friend and an ally of the NAACP. She was especially critical in establishing more civilian oversight of the Fairfax County Police Department through the Ad Hoc Police Practices Review Committee and the Police Civilian Review Panel. As Chairman Bulova is stepping down after this term, we plan to continue this excellent relationship with the Board of Supervisors, and the new Chairman.
The Executive Committee would also like to apologize to FCPD Chief Edwin Roessler. We appreciate Chief Roessler and the FCPD’s commitment to serving all the residents of Fairfax County, and intend to continue working with them to strengthen our community.
Though the Fairfax Branch is one of the oldest chapters of the NAACP, the branch has truly flourished in recent years under Mr. Annan’s leadership. His tireless advocacy and tenacious pursuit of justice drove everyone in this branch to the next level, culminating in winning the NAACP’s prestigious Thalheimer Award in 2018.
We invite the community to join us at our next General Membership Meeting on Aug. 10 at the A.M.E. Baptist Church in Alexandria. Membership in the Fairfax NAACP is open to all Fairfax County residents, regardless of gender, race, creed, religion, or national origin.
Statement from Sean Perryman, on assuming presidency of Fairfax County NAACP:
“As many of you may have heard by now, I’m assuming the Presidency of the Fairfax County NAACP. I’m both excited and humbled by the opportunity to represent an organization with a legacy as rich and important as the NAACP.
In an organization founded by legendary intellectuals and titans of civil and human rights like Ida B. Wells and W.E.B. Du Bois, it’s daunting to compare yourself to leaders of past. The work remains though, and must continue. I realize, however, that every branch is only as good as the people who volunteer. Thankfully, in Fairfax, we have some of the most talented and passionate individuals in any branch in the country. I hope to lead in a way that honors their service and dedication. I also hope to lead in a way that does justice to the work already started by Kofi Annan.
I remember when I attended my first meeting not sure what to expect. Kofi brought me into the fold. He gave me real responsibility. He let me ascend to leadership quickly and listened to the advice I gave. I’m incredibly proud of the work I accomplished with him and I’ll never forget the opportunity he gave me.
The outpouring of love for Kofi Annan following the announcement of his resignation is a testament to the impact of his work and the lives he’s touched. I’m wise enough to understand that you don’t replace someone like Kofi but can only try to further the work with the amazing team they left you. I hope he continues to stay involved and we can partner in whatever he does next.
I cannot and will not seek to be like previous leaders for I fear I could only be a bad imitation. I will instead try to carve out my own brand of leadership focused on equity, policy, and elevating the status of this branch. I will not try to recreate myself but continue to lead with honesty, humor, occasional snark, and a lot of passion. The branch will shift somewhat but our resolve and mission will remain the same.
My motivation—my daughter Ava and every child like her—remain the same. Because as a nation, we must realize that no one is coming to save us. We must create the communities we seek until eventually the world becomes something we are proud to hand our children and children’s children.
As I look forward to the future, I am eager to continue my work with leaders throughout Fairfax County and hope to meet with leaders from the Virginia state delegation, county board, and school board soon.
I appreciate all of you as I prepare for this task of leading this amazing organization.