Rachel Dolezal resigns as NAACP chapter president amid race controversy

FILE- In this March 2, 2015 file photo, Rachel Dolezal, president of the Spokane chapter of the NAACP, poses for a photo in her Spokane, Wash. home. Dolezal is facing questions about whether she lied about her racial identity, with her family saying she is white but has portrayed herself as black, Friday, June 12, 2015. (Colin Mulvany/The Spokesman-Review via AP, File) COEUR D'ALENE PRESS OUT

(CNN/KRON) — The president of the NAACP Spokane, Washington, chapter Rachel Dolezal has resigned, according to a letter from her which was posted Monday on the NAACP Spokane Facebook page.

Dolezal did not address allegations that have landed her and her family in the national spotlight over the past several days. Her parents, who are white, allege that she has been lying and presenting herself as black when she is not.

The story ignited debate over race and identity and blew up on social media.

In her letter to the NAACP’s executive committee and its members, she wrote, “I have waited in deference while others expressed their feelings, beliefs, confusions and even conclusions — absent the full story. 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.”

She said that though “many issues face us now” such as “police brutality, biased curriculum in schools, economic disenfranchisement, health inequities, and a lack of pro-justice political representation … the dialogue has unexpectedly shifted internationally to my personal identity in the context of defining race and ethnicity.”

“While challenging the construct of race is at the core of evolving human consciousness, we can NOT afford to lose sight of the five Game Changers (Criminal Justice & Public Safety, Health & Healthcare, Education, Economic Sustainability, and Voting Rights & Political Representation) that affect millions, often with a life or death outcome. The movement is larger than a moment in time or a single person’s story, and I hope that everyone offers their robust support of the Journey for Justice campaign that the NAACP launches today!” the letter reads.

While she is “delighted that so many organizations and individuals have supported and collaborated with the Spokane NAACP under my leadership to grow this branch,” she wrote that she “can see that a separation of family and organizational outcomes is in the best interest of the NAACP.”

She said that she has “complete allegiance to the cause of racial and social justice and the NAACP” and is passing her role to the chapter’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. This is not me quitting; this is a continuum,” she wrote.

Earlier today, the Spokane, Washington, chapter of the NAACP postponed a Monday meeting where Dolezal was expected to address accusations that she lied about her race.

“Due to the need to continue discussion with regional and national NAACP leaders, tomorrow’s meeting is postponed and will be rescheduled for a later date,” the chapter said in a statement Sunday.

Dolezal’s estranged parents have accused her of falsely portraying herself as black for years, claiming she is white.

The revelation sparked a nationwide controversy on race and identity, especially because she is president of the local NAACP chapter and is chairwoman of a police oversight committee.

“We are her birth parents,” her father, Lawrence Dolezal, said Friday. “We do not understand why she feels it’s necessary to misrepresent her ethnicity.”

After the meeting was postponed, the head of the chapter’s executive committee criticized the decision.

“I don’t see any language in the by-laws that empowers you, or any one member, to arbitrarily cancel/postpone tomorrow’s meeting,” Lawrence Burnley said in a letter to Dolezal.

Rachel Dolezal declined an interview when contacted by CNN last week, but said she stands by her record of service. She said she would address the accusations Monday night at the now postponed meeting.

Dolezal has said she received threatening hate mail in the past, but the Spokane Police Department told CNN’s Poppy Harlow that it dropped its investigation on the letters because of lack of leads. The investigation was dropped before the controversy about her race became public.

Adopted brother speaks out

More of her relatives have joined the chorus of criticism.

Her adopted brother, Ezra Dolezal, said she took him aside three years ago and asked him “not to blow her cover” about her alternate identity.

“She said she was starting a new life … and this one person over there was actually going to be her black father,” Ezra Dolezal said.

Dolezal has identified herself as at least partly African-American, but her Montana birth certificate states she was born to two parents who say they are Caucasian. The parents shared that document and old photos with CNN.

She began identifying herself more with the African-American community in 2007, according to her parents.

Chapter supports her

The regional NAACP leader has said her race is not a factor.

What Dolezal has done is more important than what race she is to the NAACP, regional President Gerald Hankerson said. He called the NAACP a civil rights organization first that includes “leaders from all different ethnicities,” adding that it “doesn’t do a genealogy search on what a person’s ethnicity is when they” take a top position.

“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,” he said.

A peaceful protest against Dolezal is planned outside the NAACP office in Spokane tonight, CNN affiliate KXLY reported.

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