The NAACP chapter president under fire for questions about her race has resigned. Rachel Dolezal, president of the Spokane NAACP in Washington state, has announced her resignation via a post on the chapter’s Facebook page.
“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,” Dolezal, 37, wrote in the 553-word statement.
The controversy erupted when Dolezal’s estranged parents, who are white, produced a photograph of a light-skinned, blonde Dolezal, who has represented herself as black, from her younger years. According to written reports, Dolezal, then Rachel Moore, sued Howard University for discrimination in 2002, on the grounds the traditionally black university denied her a professorship because she was white.
Dolezal stated that she will “pass the baton” to chapter vice president Naima Quarles-Burnley. According to Dolezal, she resigned because she did not want to take attention away from NAACP’s mission and work.
“In the eye of this current storm, I can see that a separation of family and organizational outcomes is in the best interest of the NAACP,” wrote Dolezal.
“The NAACP is not concerned with the racial identity of our leadership but the institutional integrity of our advocacy,” said the Baltimore-based NAACP president and CEO Cornell Brooks in a statement. “Our focus must be on issues not individuals. Ms. Rachel Dolezal has decided to resign to ensure that the Spokane branch remains focused on fighting for civil and human rights. This resignation today comes amidst the real work of the NAACP and the real challenges to our democracy.”
The Spokane NAACP could not be contacted for comment, and the Alaska Oregon Washington State Area Conference, of which the Spokane chapter is a part, did not respond to a request for comment.