Posted on June 15, 2015

Rachel Dolezal, Spokane NAACP President, Steps Down amid Race Backlash

Jessica Chasmar, Washington Times, June 15, 2015

Rachel Dolezal, president of the NAACP’s Spokane chapter, is stepping down amid national outrage after her parents publicly accused her of falsely portraying herself as black for years.

Ms. Dolezal, chair of Spokane’s Office of Police Ombudsman Commission and an adjunct professor at Eastern Washington University, made the announcement on Facebook after she canceled a meeting with her chapter Monday, where she was supposed to address the swirling controversy over her racial identity.

“Many issues face us now that drive at the theme of urgency. Police brutality, biased curriculum in schools, economic disenfranchisement, health inequities, and a lack of pro-justice political representation are among the concerns at the forefront of the current administration of the Spokane NAACP,” she wrote Monday. “And yet, the dialogue has unexpectedly shifted internationally to my personal identity in the context of defining race and ethnicity.

“I have waited in deference while others expressed their feelings, beliefs, confusions and even conclusions–absent the full story,” she continued. “I am consistently committed to empowering marginalized voices and believe that many individuals have been heard in the last hours and days that would not otherwise have had a platform to weigh in on this important discussion. Additionally, I have always deferred to the state and national NAACP leadership and offer my sincere gratitude for their unwavering support of my leadership through this unexpected firestorm.”

Ms. Dolezal continues on to say that she’s passing her position to NAACP Spokane’s Vice President Naima Quarles-Burnley.

“Please know I will never stop fighting for human rights and will do everything in my power to help and assist, whether it means stepping up or stepping down, because this is not about me. It’s about justice,” Ms. Dolezal wrote. “This is not me quitting; this is a continuum. It’s about moving the cause of human rights and the Black Liberation Movement along the continuum from Resistance to Chattel Slavery to Abolition to Defiance of Jim Crow to the building of Black Wall Street to the Civil Rights and Black Power Movement to the ‪#‎BlackLivesMatter‬ movement and into a future of self-determination and empowerment.”


Ms. Dolezal has identified herself in application materials as white, black and Native American. Her parents said they started noticing a change in their daughter’s appearance after she divorced a black man in 2004. She also started claiming to have biracial parents around the same time.