California NAACP president announces resignation; replaced by longtime South Bay activist

The president of the California chapter of the NAACP has submitted her resignation.

Alice Huffman has been at the forefront of the organization for more than 20 years.

In her letter, she says she is resigning for health reasons, effective Dec. 1.

Rick Callender will succeed her. 

"She leaves very big shoes to fill," Callender said in an email. "It has been a true honor to serve as her vice president, on her leadership team for 19 years, and as a mentee."

Callender is currently the chief executive officer of Santa Clara Valley Water, a job he took in July. He is the first African American to serve in that role in the district's 90-year history.

Before that, Callender worked as a special assistant to former City of San Jose Mayor Susan Hammer, as a field campaign organizer for the California Democratic Party, as a Congressional Fellow for the United States House of Representatives, Subcommittee on Energy, and as a Congressional Fellow to Congressman Ronald V. Dellums.

Alongside his day job, Callender currently serves as vice president of the California State Conference NAACP and has previously served as president of the San Jose/Silicon Valley NAACP.

Callender earned his bachelor of science degree in Industrial Engineering and Technology with an emphasis in electronic and computer technology from California State University, Chico, completed all coursework for his master of arts in public administration from San Jose State University, earned his Juris Doctorate from Northwestern California University School of Law, and is a member of the California State Bar. 

Over the years, Callender has worked closely with Huffman, who was elected president of the California Hawaii NAACP in 1999 and has won eight consecutive elections and runs her own consulting firm founded in 1988, AC Public Affairs, Inc., according to the group's website. 

Huffman, a high school dropout, was admitted to UC Berkeley as an EOP student from which she graduated in 2 ½ years with honors in social and cultural anthropology, her website states. She also did graduate work at the University of Pennsylvania, UC Davis in anthropology and USC in public administration.

She has won many national and state awards, the website states. The most recent received was the California Legislative Black Caucus Heritage and Legends Award. She also won awards for her work in the gay community and for her efforts to regulate cannabis.