Saluting a Friend to Justice

Ben Jealous has announced that he will be stepping down as President and CEO of the National Association for Advancement of Colored People at the end of the year. Ben has exercised extraordinary leadership in his time at the NAACP and has made contributions that are transforming the country -- from his visionary work in building a movement for criminal justice reform and voting rights to his path-breaking forging of alliances with the LGBT and Latino and Asian communities to his efforts to build lasting power for the African American community through unprecedented voter mobilization work.

He leaves the NAACP a truly re-energized institution. The NAACP is financially sound, more sustainable, more focused, larger, and more powerful. Its donor base has increased almost tenfold.

In recent years, the NAACP has won state and local battles to abolish the death penalty, shrink prison systems, outlaw racial profiling, expand voting rights protections, reform gun laws, close dangerous power plants, expand early childhood education, and secure health care coverage for the uninsured. Moreover, the NAACP has played a dynamic role as an ally in the fights for workers' rights, women's rights, immigrants' rights, and marriage equality, as well as in the struggle to end the HIV epidemic.

I have had the great fortune to work closely with Ben on many of those issues. He is soulful, brilliant, and strategic -- a gem in the movement for human rights and social justice in the U.S.

We look forward to his many more years of outstanding contribution in the struggle for justice.