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American Flag Hanging Outside of the White House
Press Statement March 1, 2024

NAACP Demands Lift on Nomination of Colonel Benjamin R. Jonsson for Brigadier General

American Flag Hanging Outside of the White House


March 1, 2024

Contact: Alicia Mercedes, 

WASHINGTON – This week, the NAACP sent a letter to Senator Schumer and members of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) requesting their support in encouraging Senator Schmitt to lift the hold placed on Colonel Jonsson and hold a confirmation vote. When announcing the hold, Senator Schmitt cited Col. Jonsson's support for diversity, equity, and inclusion as the reason.

NAACP President and CEO, Derrick Johnson released the following statement in support of Colonel Jonsson:

" Military leaders have recognized diversity as a positive aspect of force readiness. Every ally is a crucial part of building cohesion in the armed forces. Senator Schmitt's decision to hold Colonel Jonsson's nomination hostage is part of a political effort to advance an anti-Black, anti-equity agenda. The hold runs counter to the goals of SASC, which are not political. We commend Col. Johnson for his distinguished service to the American people, and extend our deepest gratitude for his bravery. He expressed support for DEI following discussions with members of his command with clear understanding of how to improve force readiness. 

The NAACP will not stand by as another esteemed professional falls victim to the wrath of white supremacy that currently plagues Congress. We urge Leader Schumer and members of SASC to move swiftly by encouraging Sen. Schmitt to lift the hold, allowing the Senate to proceed with a confirmation vote."

Excerpts from the letter include:

"Studies from organizations such as McKinsey, Accenture, and the Rand Corporation have demonstrated that diverse views, leadership, and life experience result in sounder decision-making and increased profitability."

"Colonel Benjamin Jonsson is widely and openly regarded by Air Force leadership as a critically important future leader…"

"We urge Senate leadership to act by encouraging Senator Schmitt to lift the hold before Colonel Jonsson's nomination expires."

A full copy of the letter is available here.



The NAACP advocates, agitates, and litigates for the civil rights due to Black America. Our legacy is built on the foundation of grassroots activism by the biggest civil rights pioneers of the 20th century and is sustained by 21st century activists. From classrooms and courtrooms to city halls and Congress, our network of members across the country works to secure the social and political power that will end race-based discrimination. That work is rooted in racial equity, civic engagement, and supportive policies and institutions for all marginalized people. We are committed to a world without racism where Black people enjoy equitable opportunities in thriving communities.

NOTE: The Legal Defense Fund – also referred to as the NAACP-LDF - was founded in 1940 as a part of the NAACP, but now operates as a completely separate entity.