Tonza Thomas has defeated the Rev. Walter Taylor and will remain president of the Columbus branch of the NAACP.
According to a news release, Thomas received 32 votes and Taylor 13 in a vote taken Saturday at the Columbus Public Library.
Thomas is the second woman to hold this position in the civil rights organization’s 76-year history.
Thomas is currently serving her 3rd term as the National Association for the Advancement of Color People Georgia State Conference, State Secretary and was unopposed in the last two statewide elections.
Kevin Myles, NAACP national field director, was in Columbus to oversee the election.
“Two years ago, my national and state colleagues spoke of our leadership for today and for the future,” Thomas said in a news release. “My strategy is the same and that is to engage those that believe that their one vote does not count. Our democracy has a way of showing us that our lack of voting counts every time in the criminal justice system and even more since the election of Donald Trump.”
Edward DuBose, NAACP national board member, said this is an exciting day for Columbus and the state of Georgia for women.
“The NAACP Columbus, GA Branch will be in a greater position with Ms. Thomas as the president,” he said in a news release. “She grew up in this community and knows what it means to struggle and to lead this organization. Columbus, you have a dedicated servant leader in the fight for civil rights of all people. Ms. Thomas will ensure that there is equal representation on critical issues facing her community and will have the full support of our State, Regional and National offices.”
Prior to the election, Taylor said he hoped to change the organization’s image.
“Our current chapter is in disarray,” he said. “I’m running to hopefully bring a sense of change, and strength and decorum and solidarity back to our local branch. There needs to be some real leadership put in place that brings other leaders together to the table to effectively fight for the needs of the community and offer a voice to those who similarly don’t know how to effectively use their voice.”
Prior to the vote, Thomas said she is aware she has some critics but believes the organization is headed in the right direction.
“When you’re a progressive thinker and you’re moving the organization forward, people who are used to doing things a certain way don’t get the vision that’s passed down from our national and state offices,” she said.