SAN JOSE, Calif. - On Friday, San Jose-Silicon Valley NAACP President Rev. Jethroe Moore II met with his executive team, and told them this day would be his last at the helm.
The news was difficult to choke down, even while savoring some of the best South Bay soul food at Jackie’s Place in San Jose.
"When my family originally came to San Jose, we came for housing, education, and job opportunities. That’s pretty much not here anymore," said Rev. Moore.
For 13 years, Moore has guided this civil rights bellwether organization. He’s championed causes ranging from housing to jobs to education.
But the high cost of Bay Area living took a toll. According to a March California Policy Lab study, the out migration from Santa Clara County was up more than 19% in the fourth quarter of 2020, compared to the previous year, largely due to rising expenses.
Moore says the problem is more acute in the Black community, which continues to see its ranks dwindle. He detailed his concerns during a KTVU special report on the challenges of being Black in Silicon Valley a Feb. 1 interview.
"When I drive around or go out someplace, it’s like we’re left out of this community," he said at that time.
Non-profit and organizational structure expert Dr. Robert Sanders of the University of New Haven said the SJ NAACP losing its voice at the top means a transition to a new way of fighting for multiple causes.
"NAACP, or any organization, when you lose leadership, that can have an impact," he said. "If that person’s persona becomes the organization, then when that person’s persona disappears, part of the organization’s outward facing structures can go with it."
Moore says he’s leaving the organization in good hands. First Vice President Bob Nunez will assume the presidency, until elections in 2022.
On hearing the news, some South Bay leaders reacted with emails and texts to KTVU.
"Reverend Moore has been bending the moral arc of the universe toward justice for our community with grace," wrote Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez.
"Reverend Moore has spent his life acting with drive and determination…to bring racial justice to our community," said Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen.
San Jose State Prof. Shaun Fletcher said, "Moore has been a champion and voice for the historically muted and marginalized. His legacy will continue through those he empowered."
And Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith wrote her office, "…Wishes our best to Rev. Moore II on his future endeavors. Thank you for your dedicated service to Santa Clara County."
"I wanna go live someplace where I can thrive, and I can enjoy life, and have some things to do," said Rev. Moore.
The reverend said part of thriving will be home ownership, in Georgia.
Moore’s departure continues a trend which has seen other high-profile South Bay leaders leave for states with substantially lower cost of living such as Texas and Georgia.