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Rachel Dolezal steps down as Spokane NAACP president

After being accused of lying about her race, Rachel Dolezal resigned as head the NAACP chapter in Spokane, Washington
Rachel Dolezal steps down from NAACP 02:17

Rachel Dolezal, the embattled president of Spokane's NAACP chapter, said Monday she is stepping down from her post with the civil rights organization.

Dolezal has been at the center of a firestorm ever since her parents came forward last week and said she is lying about being African-American. Her adoptive brother has also come forward and claimed "she grew up a white, privileged person up in Montana."

A meeting scheduled for Monday evening where she planned to explain herself was abruptly canceled as the controversy grew.

In a Facebook post, Dolezal said she was stepping down because the dialogue about race and injustice in the country "has unexpectedly shifted internationally to my personal identity in the context of defining race and ethnicity."

"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," she wrote.

Kitara Johnson, an NAACP member in Spokane who has been calling for Dolezal to step down, welcomed the resignation, which came about six months after Dolezal was elected president.

"That's the best thing that can happen right now," Johnson told The Associated Press on Monday. "We are going to stand in unity and solidarity."

Johnson said the most important thing is to focus on the work of the NAACP, but she hoped Dolezal would remain a member of the organization.

A rally scheduled for Monday night in Spokane will go on as planned, Johnson said.

"I foresee us praying for Rachel and the NAACP and the community and moving us forward," Johnson said.

The NAACP issued a statement Friday supporting Dolezal, who has been a longtime figure in Spokane's human-rights community and teaches African studies to college students.

Ruthanne Dolezal, Rachel Dolezal's mother, said the family's ancestry is Czech, Swedish and German, with a trace of Native American heritage. She produced a copy of her daughter's Montana birth certificate listing herself and Larry Dolezal as Rachel's parents.

Ruthanne Dolezal of Troy, Montana, told reporters when the controversy broke she has had no contact with her daughter in years. She said Rachel began to "disguise herself" after her parents adopted four African-American children more than a decade ago.

The city of Spokane is investigating whether Dolezal lied about her ethnicity when she applied to be on the police board. Police on Friday said they were suspending investigations into racial-harassment complaints filed by Dolezal, including one from earlier this year in which she said she received hate mail at her office.

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