The Fairfax, Virginia chapter of the NAACP is standing by its vice president, Michelle Leete, after she was heard yelling, "Let them die," at a protest before a local school board meeting regarding critical race theory. The Virginia Parent-Teacher Association called for Leete to resign because a few members felt the comment was directed at parents who opposed teaching critical race theory in local schools. In response, the NAACP argued that Leete was "abundantly clear" as she directed her comments at right-wing ideologies rather than individual parents.
“[Leete] was abundantly clear when you consider the entirety of her speech, instead of simply the last seconds of it," a statement from the Fairfax NAACP reads.
“We stand firmly by our 1st Vice President and her work in the past, present and future, and are extremely disappointed that her long track record of tireless work and dedication within the Fairfax County community has been so easily disregarded and devalued."
Leete came face to face with those who opposed teaching critical race theory in schools during a protest on July 15. Standing outside of Luther Jackson Middle School before a school board hearing, she articulated her opposition to those who wish to remove certain elements of American history from lesson plans in the greater Fairfax area.
“Let’s deny this off-key band of people that are anti-education, anti-teacher, anti-equity, anti-history, anti-racial reckoning, anti-opportunities, anti-help people, anti-diversity, anti-platform, anti-science, anti-change agent, anti-social justice, anti-healthcare, anti-worker, anti-LGBTQ+, anti-children, anti-healthcare, anti-worker, anti-environment, anti-admissions policy change, anti-inclusion, anti-live-and-let live people. Let them die,” she said before a crowd of supporters and counter-protesters.
Immediately after making her statements, conservative social media users began hurling insults at Leete and those who supported her. As previously mentioned, the Virginia PTA issued a letter to the NAACP asking that she be removed from her position.
Leete has not issued a public statement, but she will remain the vice president of the Fairfax, Virginia NAACP.
“In the days following the rally we have received many hate-filled emails, phone calls, and social media posts, which have been laced with racial epithets, vile language and threats,” NAACP officials added.
"These messages only highlight the fact that racism and sexism are alive and well, and those who practice it will use any minor infraction or misspoken word to justify their own prejudices and actions."