June 28, 2020
Maryland NOW’s state officers and state council members are very concerned about articles outlining charges of racism that have been circulating about our National NOW President, Toni Van Pelt, during this past month. These involve alleged repeated racist treatment of NOW’s officers, staff, national board members, and state and chapter leaders.
These alleged charges 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 officer. The charges, which include creating a hostile work environment 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.
Maryland NOW’s State President, Sandy Bell, has joined with 23 of 36 other state leaders and state councils, along with a majority of members of our National Board of Directors, and dozens of current and former chapter leaders calling for her to resign. As this discussion has dragged on without Van Pelt’s resignation amid growing press coverage of the situation, we have lost confidence in Van Pelt’s ability to effectively lead NOW, and we stand in support of all those who have raised these questions and also called for her resignation.
This situation represents a very serious time in NOW’s history. Maryland NOW believes unequivocally that racism in any form has no place in NOW. As members and supporters may hear about these allegations, we wanted to send you information about this matter and let you know of our actions.
We will continue to keep you informed and welcome your comments. If you have questions or concerns, please write to us: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you wish to write to National NOW President Toni Van Pelt, please do so at this address: email@example.com
Here are links to articles that have appeared online about calls for Toni Van Pelt’s resignation. The story is being covered primarily by Emily Shugerman of the “Daily Beast.” The matter has been commented on by FOX News and MSNBC and is circulating in many feminist blogs online.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. She is asking for individual letters of support that may be circulated to various lists of leaders.