July 20th, 2020
Dear NOW Community,
The NOW Young Feminist Task Force (YFTF) stands in solidarity with the 10 National NOW board members, 24 State Presidents and hundreds of NOW members calling for the National NOW Board to remove Toni Van Pelt from her position as President of the National Organization for Women. Toni has lost our confidence to not only carry out but represent the mission of our organization.
Over the past several months, we have heard from dozens of NOW members, leaders, employees, and National Board Members who have outlined numerous accounts where Van Pelt has continuously exhibited racist behavior and upheld racist institutions. There are too many different individuals telling stories with the same underlying themes of racism and autocratic behavior for NOW to continue to ignore them. Visit www.removetoninow.org for more information.
Van Pelt has yet to even acknowledge these accusations which in and of itself shows that she is not committed to holding herself or NOW accountable to addressing racism and anti-blackness. This is evident by the recent National NOW Board meeting she held to “work with Black Lives Matter” where she actively silenced women of color on the call and refused to acknowledge the accusations against her.
After working with Van Pelt for several years, we do not believe she will ever acknowledge her behavior and resign. We believe that the only way to begin combatting racism within NOW is to remove Van Pelt from office. Currently we are 2 votes short needed to convince the ⅔ board members needed to vote to remove Toni from her role as President. Please join us in asking Toni to resign by contacting your district board members who have not yet committed to voting for Toni’s removal:
Northern District: Myra Terry email@example.com
Eastern District: Kobby Hoffman firstname.lastname@example.org
Heartland District: Gina Austin-Fresh email@example.com Barbara Miller firstname.lastname@example.org
Southern District: BJ Star email@example.com
Once she is removed, the National Board must lead NOW in evaluating our internal structures and make the necessary changes to end systemic and institutionalized racism within our own organization. It is well past overdue for these changes to be made. If they are not made then NOW will never be relevant to young feminists, and we will dedicate our activism elsewhere.
The NOW Young Feminist Task Force
Inquiries can be directed to the NOW Young Feminist Task Force Chair Zoe Bardon by emailing NOWYoungFeminists@gmail.com.