MN NOW Demands National NOW President’s Resignation

MN NOW’s state executive officers and state board members submitted a letter demanding National NOW President Toni Van Pelt resign following the emergence of new information detailing an alleged pattern of racist, as well as ageist and transphobic, behavior by Van Pelt. NOW’s officers, staff, national board members, and state and chapter leaders have provided examples of what they allege is repeated mistreatment by Van Pelt.

These allegations have been supported by documents including letters from former staff and interns to the National Board of Directors, letters and press releases from members of our National Board calling for Van Pelt’s resignation, and a lawsuit that has been filed by a former National NOW officer. The claims, which include creating a hostile work environment, retaliation and ill-treatment of NOW staff and interns, along with other violations of NOW policies, have appeared in several national publications and continue to spread in the press.

MN NOW’s State Board joined with 23 of 37 other state leaders and state councils, nine National NOW Board members, and dozens of current and former chapter leaders calling for her to resign. Van Pelt, and our three National NOW Board members representing the Heartland District (two of whom allegedly do not currently support removal of Van Pelt) ignored our demand for Van Pelt to resign by June 19, 2020.

We have no confidence in Van Pelt’s ability to effectively lead and unify NOW with action on the issue of racial justice, and we stand in support of all those who have raised these questions and also called for her resignation. We are angry and disheartened by the lack of National NOW Board leadership in removing Van Pelt – 12 votes are required to remove Van Pelt and it appears there are only 9 votes at this time. Only one of the three Heartland District delegates, Jocelyn Morris from Missouri, supports Van Pelt’s removal.

Racism and other forms of prejudice and bigotry have no place in NOW and will not be tolerated by MN NOW. We stand up against racism in all its forms – overt, individual, systemic, institutional, microaggressions and more. We stand for intersectional feminism where we are stronger together.

If you have questions, comments or concerns, please write to us: Press inquiries on the matter should be directed to

If you wish to write to National NOW President Toni Van Pelt directly, please do so at this address: You can also cc MN NOW’s current Heartland Board delegates: Jocelyn Miller (,Barb Miller ( and Gina Austin-Fresh (  



California NOW is spearheading a campaign END RACISM IN NOW 24×24 and is hosting a virtual conversation with time for Q&A Tuesday, July 14.  If you’re interested in joining the discussion, contact for the conference call details. The call is for MN NOW members only.



Links to relevant articles about the outrage and nationwide calls for Toni Van Pelt’s resignation are below. The story is being covered primarily by Emily Shugerman of the Daily Beast. Other news organizations, including FOX News and MSNBC, have reported on it and news of it is circulating in many feminist blogs online.

June 6th “Don’t Forget the White Women!” : Members Say Racism Ran Rampant at NOW

June 7th “NOW Board Members Demand President Toni Van Pelt Resign Amid Racism Claims”

June 11th “Push to Oust NOW President Grows Amid New Racism Complaints”

June 26th “NOW Board Members: We’re Being Punished for Blowing the Whistle on Racism”

National Board Members’ Press Release, June 26, 2020


Here is a link to a Sign-On Letter from activists and former leaders to the National NOW Board calling for Toni Van Pelt’s resignation  

This letter was written and circulated to National NOW members and former leaders of chapters and states in NOW, calling for Toni Van Pelt to resign. Using this link you can add your name and contact information. Names are still being added and are forwarded to the National Board regularly.


If you want to support Toni’s decision to remain in office, you may write to her at She is asking for individual letters of support that may be circulated to various lists of leaders.

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