Rachel Dolezal has stepped down from her position as president of the NAACP chapter in Spokane, Washington.
Dolezal, a white woman who identified as African American for nearly a decade, announced the news in a statement published to the Spokane NAACP Facebook page Monday morning.
"It is with complete allegiance to the cause of racial and social justice and the NAACP that I step aside from the Presidency and pass the baton to my Vice President, Naima Quarles-Burnley,” Dolezal wrote.
It was reported that Dolezal was expected to meet with NAACP members Monday to address the controversy. Her story has caused uproar as many have criticized her decision to identify herself as a black woman. Her family members, who confirmed to The Huffington Post that she is in fact white, said they are disappointed by her disguise.
Still, Dolezal -- who responded to questions about her ethnicity on Friday -- maintains that she is black. In her response Monday, she said she is still committed to her work as an activist and will continue to serve marginalized communities.
“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,” Dolezal wrote. “It's about justice.”
“This is not me quitting; this is a continuum,” she continued. “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.”
The NAACP responded to Dolezal's resignation just hours after her announcement on Monday. It said it was “not concerned” with Dolezal's ethnicity and preferred to highlight the work she has done as part of the organization.
"The NAACP is not concerned with the racial identity of our leadership but the institutional integrity of our advocacy. Our focus must be on issues not individuals," President and CEO Cornell Williams Brooks wrote in a statement. "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."
Brooks also announced the launch of "America’s Journey for Justice," an 860-mile march to raise awareness around racial inequality.
"We are calling on Americans of every hue and heritage, of every racial background and of every political party and those with no party affiliation, and those of every generation to make history and make change by marching on America's Journey for Justice," the statement read.
Read Dolezal’s full remarks below:
Dear Executive Committee and NAACP Members,
It is a true honor to serve in the racial and social justice movement here in Spokane and across the nation. 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. 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. 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.
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!
I am delighted that so many organizations and individuals have supported and collaborated with the Spokane NAACP under my leadership to grow this branch into one of the healthiest in the nation in 5 short months. 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.
It is with complete allegiance to the cause of racial and social justice and the NAACP that I step aside from the Presidency and pass the baton to my Vice President, Naima Quarles-Burnley. It is my hope that by securing a beautiful office for the organization in the heart of downtown, bringing the local branch into financial compliance, catalyzing committees to do strategic work in the five Game Changer issues, launching community forums, putting the membership on a fast climb, and helping many individuals find the legal, financial and practical support needed to fight race-based discrimination, I have positioned the Spokane NAACP to buttress this transition.
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. 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.
With much love and a commitment to always fight for what is right and good in this world,
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