The current president and a long-serving member of the Fairfax County NAACP has died, the civil rights advocacy organization announced today (Monday).
The exact circumstances of Michelle Leete’s death weren’t addressed, but the organization described her passing as “sudden.”
“The esteemed president and unwavering advocate for civil rights departed this world, leaving a void in the hearts of those she served alongside and a legacy of tireless dedication to justice, equality, and community empowerment,” the Fairfax County NAACP said.
Leete had served on the group’s executive committee since 2013, holding the positions of treasurer and vice president before getting elected as president for the 2023-2024 term.
She became a target of conservative outrage in 2021 after giving a speech at a rally in support of Fairfax County Public Schools providing protections for transgender students. The incident led to her resigning as vice president of training for the Virginia PTA.
Leete’s tenure as president of the local NAACP branch included a focus on police reform, as the organization provided support to the family of Timothy Johnson, who was fatally shot by Fairfax County police last February at Tysons Corner Center.
Former Fairfax County NAACP presidents shared condolences after the group announced Leete’s death.
“Michelle was the embodiment of a selfless leader,” her predecessor, Sean Perryman, said. “She approached community service with a quiet confidence and no ego. She was a steady and calming presence. Her maturity and capability radiated in everything she did. With her death, the Northern Virginia community loses someone that dedicated years to its betterment.”
Kofi Annan, who served as president from 2016 to 2019, noted that Leete had been the organization’s longest-serving board member.
“She was a great mentor and friend to me over the years. RIP my friend,” he wrote in a Facebook post.
The Fairfax County NAACP’s full announcement is below:
With profound shock and sadness, the Fairfax County NAACP branch announces the sudden passing of their president, Michelle Leete. The esteemed president and unwavering advocate for civil rights departed this world, leaving a void in the hearts of those she served alongside and a legacy of tireless dedication to justice, equality, and community empowerment.
The Fairfax County NAACP branch family is grieving this significant loss and extends their deepest condolences to President Leete’s family, loved ones, colleagues, and the entire community she served so passionately. An active NAACP Fairfax County branch member and a member of its Executive Committee since 2013, President Leete served in many capacities, including Treasurer and Vice President, before being elected President for the 2023-2024 term.
Details regarding memorial arrangements and community gatherings to honor President Leete’s memory will be forthcoming. The Fairfax County NAACP branch is working diligently to ensure that the events reflect her profound impact on the community.
Further information and updates will be communicated through official channels and posted on Fairfax County NAACP’s social media platforms. The Branch appreciates the outpouring of support during this challenging time and requests privacy for President Leete’s family as they navigate this loss.
President Michelle Leete may be gone, but her indomitable spirit will forever remain in the hearts of those she inspired and served.
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