Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Partly Cloudy Day 67° Partly Cloudy
A&E >  Entertainment

Rachel Dolezal resigns as president of Spokane NAACP

UPDATED: Mon., June 15, 2015

Rachel Dolezal resigned as Spokane NAACP president this morning. In a letter sent to the NAACP Executive Committee she wrote, “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.” (pictured, right) Dolezal’s resignation comes after accusations that she’s been passing as a black woman for years, when her family says she’s white. Although the NAACP hasn’t taken an official position, some leaders and former leaders were calling for her resignation. One member started an online petition on Friday, calling for Dolezal’s resignation. A demonstration was planned for tonight in downtown Spokane. Charles Thornton, the former vice president of the Spokane NAACP chapter, called for Dolezal’s resignation via email. “It is difficult for me to believe anything Rachel Dolezal says. She has completely lost the trust I had in her,” Thornton wrote. “The lies she told to me go deeper than I could imagine. Rachel Dolezal needs to resign.” Meanwhile, Spokane Mayor David Condon and City Council President Ben Stuckart say Dolezal may have violated ethics rules if she lied on her application to serve on the city’s police oversight commission. They have asked the city Ethics Committee to open an investigation. “Much has been made about ethnicity, but our concerns are focused squarely on the expectation that our volunteers adhere to the standards of truthfulness, transparency and integrity they agree to when they apply for and join a board or commission,” Condon and Stuckart said in a joint statement. Also today, Eastern Washington University removed Dolezal’s biography from its website. University spokesman Dave Meany said Dolezal was in a part-time teaching position that ended Friday when the academic quarter finished and no longer is employed at EWU. He said whether she gets hired to another quarterly teaching contract in the fall would be up to the Africana Education program, where Dolezal has worked on a quarter-by-quarter basis since 2010. And in other developments today, the Pacific Northwest Inlander announced it had severed ties with Dolezal, who had been a freelance opinion columnist for the weekly tabloid. In her resignation letter to the local NAACP’s executive committee Dolezal highlighted her commitment to racial justice and equality, while simultaneously resigning. “I’m 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,” she wrote. Dolezal, who has been the Spokane NAACP president for seven months, took credit for getting an office for the NAACP, bringing the branch into financial compliance, invigorating committees, launching community forums and increasing membership. Thornton credits Dolezal with bringing new and competent voices on to NAACP committees. “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 five short months,” Dolezal said. Freda Gandy, executive director of the Martin Luther King Jr. Family Outreach Center in Spokane, questions what Dolezal has done as NAACP president. Gandy has worked at the MLK center for 16 years, and booked Dolezal as one of the speakers at this year’s MLK parade. Prior to Dolezal becoming NAACP president Gandy said she’d never heard of Dolezal. “What has she done? What? You’ve gone around town and posed for a lot of pictures with different people,” Gandy said. “What really have you done? What is it? Because I don’t know.” Thornton believes the Spokane NAACP chapter has improved, but still has plenty of room for growth. Thornton, who resigned a month ago from the executive committee, said many people in the organization like Dolezal, including himself. “Rachel and many of the executive members had a relationship, in terms of friendship,” Thornton said. “So it probably was a difficult discussion. It’s hard to deal with something like this when you’re dealing with a friend.” Still, Thornton is glad she resigned. “I’m happy to see that she resigned so that it could end the controversy,” he said.
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe to the Spokane7 email newsletter

Get the day’s top entertainment headlines delivered to your inbox every morning.