- The Washington Times - Monday, June 15, 2015

Rachel Dolezal, president of the NAACP’s Spokane chapter, stepped down Monday amid national outrage after her parents publicly accused her of falsely portraying herself as black for years.

Ms. Dolezal, chair of Spokane’s Office of Police Ombudsman Commission and an adjunct professor at Eastern Washington University, made the announcement on Facebook after she canceled a meeting with her chapter Monday, where she was supposed to address the swirling controversy over her racial identity.

“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,” she wrote Monday. “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,” she continued. “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.”

Ms. Dolezal continues on to say that she’s passing her position to NAACP Spokane’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,” Ms. Dolezal wrote.

Cornell William Brooks, national president of the NAACP, said in a statement Monday that while Ms. Dolezal resigned for the good of the chapter, “the NAACP is not concerned with the racial identity of our leadership.”

Ms. Dolezal made national headlines last week after her white parents, Ruthanne and Larry Dolezal, came forward to say the family’s ancestry is almost all European, with a touch of American Indian.

Spokane officials are investigating whether her successful application to sit on the city’s police review board included false statements about her ethnicity.

But in another bizarre twist Monday, The Smoking Gun website posted documents Monday showing that Ms. Dolezal sued Howard University in 2002 accusing the historically black college of discriminating against her because she was white.

Ms. Dolezal, then known as Rachel Moore, named the university and professor Alfred Smith, chairman of the university’s art department, as defendants in a lawsuit filed in D.C.’s Superior Court.

The lawsuit claimed discrimination based on race, pregnancy, family responsibilities and gender. Ms. Dolezal alleged that Mr. Smith and university officials had invidiously blocked her appointment to a teaching assistantship, rejected her application for an instructorship, and denied her scholarship aid while she was a student, according to a Court of Appeals opinion obtained by The Smoking Gun.

Judge Zoe Bush determined there was no evidence to support Ms. Dolezal’s claims and dismissed the suit in February 2004. The D.C. Court of Appeals subsequently affirmed the judge’s decision, The Smoking Gun reported.

Ms. Dolezal was reportedly ordered to reimburse Howard $2,728.50 for a “Bill of Costs,” as well as nearly $1,000 during the case.

Her parents said they started noticing a change in their daughter’s appearance after she divorced a black man in 2004. She also started claiming to have biracial parents around the same time.

When asked last week directly about her race, Ms. Dolezal told The Spokesman Review: “That question is not as easy as it seems.”

“We’re all from the African continent,” she added later.

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