Vancouver’s branch of the NAACP is asking for the resignation of Eileen Quiring, the Clark County Council chair, who earlier this week stated she doesn’t believe systemic racism exists in the community.
“Your comments and attitude prove that you lack the knowledge, integrity and vision to competently lead our county,” Vancouver NAACP President Bridgette Fahnbulleh wrote Saturday in a letter addressed to Quiring.
During a county meeting Wednesday, Quiring defended the Clark County Sheriff’s Office’s decision to put flag decals on patrol vehicles. Those decals, which depict a black-and-white American flag with one blue stripe, are associated with the controversial “Blue Lives Matter” slogan.
Also during that meeting, Quiring said, “I do not agree that we have systemic racism in our county. Period.”
Fahnbulleh, the NAACP president, said in her letter that she does not believe Quiring can effectively perform her duties as county chair “while lacking introspection and the ability or willingness to recognize the reality of racism — including implicit bias, white privilege that sustains the status quo, and the adverse impact on people of color.”
Fahnbulleh continued in her letter: “We challenge you to become educated on racism and examine your own privilege and racial bias. Meanwhile, neither people of color, Clark County nor the world can continue to wait for you to become educated, reflective, and truly open to change while occupying the County Chair position.”
Washington’s League of United Latin American Citizens, or LULAC, released a similar statement Saturday, and also asked for Quiring’s resignation.
“Through her expressive racist statement, Quiring has demonstrated a callous disregard for Black and brown people living in Clark County,” Diana Perez, LULAC’s Washington state director, said in a statement. “In our community racial inequities are visible in the law as well as in thoughts, actions and inactions.”
Nkenge Harmon Johnson, president and CEO of the Urban League of Portland, also said Saturday that she fully supports the Vancouver NAACP and Washington LULAC’s calls for Quiring to resign.
Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated Diana Perez’s position with LULAC. She is the organization’s Washington state director. OPB regrets the error.