Orange County NAACP President Quits Over Anti-Asian Racism

Dr. Vanessa Toolsie, the first south-Asian president of the Orange County Branch of NAACP, announced her resignation on Sunday, accusing the executive board of racism and discrimination.

The former NAACP president detailed her treatment in a lengthy statement posted to the Orange County branch’s Facebook page. Toolsie accused the branch of purposeful exclusion from the branch’s annual gala, as well as generally keeping her out of the loop regarding decision making. She also claimed that a “loud and discriminatory” few outright denigrated her heritage in meetings and emails. At the conclusion of the post, Toolsie mentions that she attempted to deal with the matter internally but can no longer tolerate the treatment.

“However, it would be hypocritical of me to continue to stand at the helm of an organization branch “for the equality of all persons” that is against racism and oppression, while I continue to be treated with such bold disproportionate inequality, maliciously racistly oppressed as the first AAPI President of the branch to a disproportionate blatant level that I have not yet seen in any organization.”

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The post was initially put up Sunday morning, deleted, and then reposted Sunday evening. Notably, there’s a comment under the post from the Orange Branch account marked as the author. While individual identity is not certain, Toolsie may have also written it, given the content. The comment implies that the initial deletion of her resignation post was done by other branch managers, attempting to keep the story under wraps.

“Efforts to shush and silence those speaking up about racism, such as efforts to silence and physically erase a minority South Asian President’s resignation entailing racism, instead of efforts to eliminate the racism itself, are further racist. Unfortunately, someone with access to this page oppressively erased this post earlier, and thus it is reposted.”

At a virtual membership meeting Monday evening held via Zoom, Toolsie read the resignation out loud. One person spoke, objecting to the reading, calling Toolsie’s claims “false allegations against the executive committee,” according to the Orlando Sentinel. Another used the chat feature, asking if Toolsie had proof of her claims to present to the board.

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John Cummings, communication, press, and publicity chairperson for the branch, told the Orlando Sentinel that branch leaders are aware of the post but did not comment on its accuracy.

“I am concerned about this person and the charges that were made. We don’t want to overlook or dehumanize or, in any way, cause anybody problems or concern intentionally or unintentionally.”

Toolsie told the Orlando Sentinel that she was initially hesitant about joining the NAACP because she wasn’t black, despite their commitment to civil rights. However, the general diversity of their management convinced her to join. However, evidently, her initial concerns about the anti-racist organization came to pass.


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