Rachel Dolezal, the president of the Spokane chapter of the NAACP, said Monday she is stepping down after her parents accused her of misrepresenting her race and pretending to be black.
“The movement is larger than a moment in time or a single person’s story,” Dolezal said in a statement. “While challenging the construct of race is at the core of evolving human consciousness, we can NOT afford to lose sight of” the NAACP’s core mission, she wrote.
Dolezal has identified herself as partly African-American, but her parents say they are both of European origin. She attended the historically black Howard University and reportedly began identifying with the African-American community in the last ten years.
Dolezal has become an advocate on behalf of the NAACP as well as an academic expert on African-American culture at Eastern Washington University.
“It is with complete allegiance to the cause of racial and social justice and the NAACP that I step aside from the Presidency,” said Dolezal in her statement. “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.”
In a statement last week, the NAACP lent tacit support to Dolezal, saying that racial identity is not a criteria for leadership positions in the organization.