Race or Integrity?

Spokane NAACP president Rachel Dolezal steps down amid accusations that she is white


Rachel Dolezal, president of the Spokane chapter of the NAACP, will not speak about allegations that she is white Monday, despite a previous promise.

Rachel Dolezal stepped down from her position as Spokane’s NAACP president Monday, days after her biological parents said she is white.

The leader, who has publically identified as black, did not address her ethnicity in a statement announcing her resignation 

She promised Friday that she’d tell her side of the story at a previously scheduled membership meeting Monday. But the organization canceled the chapter meeting Sunday “due to the need to continue discussion with regional and national NAACP leaders.”

Memebers of her chapter demanded answers.

“People want resolve. They want some kind of closure,” chapter member Kitara Johnson told CNN on Monday.

Spokane NAACP member Kitara Johnson organized a petition asking Rachel Dolezal to take a leave of absence.

Spokane NAACP member Kitara Johnson organized a petition asking Rachel Dolezal to take a leave of absence.

Johnson started a petition asking Dolezal to temporarily step down while the organization investigates the accusations, first made by a white Minnesota couple who said they are her birth parents. The petition racked up more than 500 signatures by Monday morning.

“We want to ask her, in a nice way and be respectful of the work she’s done in the community, to take a leave of absence to take care of her personal issues (so) the work of social justice and equity can move forward,” Johnson said.

Regional NAACP leaders have backed Dolezal, recognizing her for her civil rights activism and explaining that leadership is not limited to people of a specific race or ethnicity.

“We represent all civil rights issues, regardless of a person’s ethnicity. And the quality of the work that she has done to elevate the issues of civil rights in that region is what we applaud,” regional President Gerald Hankerson said.

Rachel Dolezal at age 18.COURTESY LARRY DOLEZALEnlarge
Rachel Dolezal at age 15.COURTESY LARRY DOLEZALEnlarge

Dolezal’s parents released photos of her as a blond teen.

Still, the Spokane members calling for her to step down said they are angry Dolezal may have lied — not about her ethnicity.

“It’s not about race; it’s about integrity,” Johnson said. “If you’re a leader, you have to have integrity. She clearly lacks integrity. The other piece is credibility.”

Dolezal, a professor of African studies at Eastern Washington University, has led the local NAACP chapter for the past six months.

Her Montana parents, Ruthanne and Lawrence Dolezal, said their daughter cut ties with them in 2007 when she began to adopt her African-American identity. They produced photos of her as a blond teenager and her birth certificate.

The couple — who have four adopted black children as well as a biological son — said Dolezal has always embraced African-American culture. She married a black man in 2000 and attended the historically black Howard University.

With News Wire Services





About Brian Fulmer

Brian is the owner of Crossroads Property Management Inc. (www.crossroadsproperty.com) He writes six blogs and has written two books. He also works with various missions around the world. His first love is Guatemala.
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