Donald Sterling’s recent rant involving his feelings and even barring Black people from his games or being seen with his mistress V. Stiviano, has been long reaching and in the case of LA NAACP chapter president, Leon Jenkins, downright shameful.
Thursday Jenkins felt the wrath of the community he served along with his fellow chapter members and decided to step down as chapter president following the scrutiny of his decision to give LA Clippers owner, Donald Sterling, a second Lifetime Achievement Award.
Later this month Jenkins was to present Sterling with the award, but withdrew the offer Monday after a recording surfaced over the weekend on which Sterling disparaged black men.
In a letter reported by CBS News to the national leader of the nation’s oldest civil rights organization, Leon Jenkins wrote, “In order to separate the Los Angeles NAACP and the NAACP from the negative exposure I have caused the NAACP, I respectfully resign my position as President of the Los Angeles NAACP.”
Prior to the recording, the decision to give Sterling a Lifetime Achievement Award May 15 at the 100th anniversary celebration of the Los Angeles chapter had been questioned by some civil rights activists, who cited allegations of discrimination in Sterling’s past.
In 2006, the U.S. Justice Department sued Sterling siting housing discrimination in the Koreatown area of Los Angeles. In November 2009, Sterling agreed to pay $2.7 million to settle allegations that he refused to rent apartments to Hispanics and Blacks.
Also in 2009, the year after Jenkins was first elected president in Los Angeles, the chapter first honored Sterling with his first lifetime achievement award.
Prior to Jenkins resignation, branches of the NAACP operated with autonomy, but an announcement accompanying the resignation from the national NAACP said it is “developing guidelines for its branches to help them in their award selection process.”
After Sterling’s conversation became public, Jenkins issued a statement.
“There is a personal, economic and social price that Mr. Sterling must pay for his attempt to turn back the clock on race relations,” he said.
Jenkins explained that Sterling had been selected owing to his history of donating to minority charities and giving game tickets to inner-city children. The Donald T. Sterling Charitable Foundation gave $5,000 to the NAACP’s Los Angeles chapter in 2010, according to tax records; Sterling was listed as his foundation’s only contributor. There were no records of further NAACP contributions in 2011 or 2012, the latest years for which records were available.
Reacting to the announcement, local activist Earl Ofari Hutchinson said to ABC News the NAACP’s Los Angeles chapter needed to become “fully transparent and accountable to its members and community and not to dubious corporate donors.
[Photo Credit: Bing]