On Monday, local NAACP leader Rachel Dolezal announced she would be stepping down as president of the Spokane, Washington, chapter of the organization. In a lengthy post on the chapter's Facebook page, Dolezal wrote that she feared the controversy had become a distraction to the organization's central mission:
"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."
In her resignation, Dolezal thanked the NAACP for its support and cited her own record of achievement during her tenure at the helm of the organization's chapter. She also made it clear that she would never abandon the cause of equal rights.
"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," she wrote in the statement.
Shortly after the post went live, many took to the comments section in what appeared to be an overwhelmingly negative response to Dolezal's actions and statement.
On Friday, local news in Spokane confronted Dolezal about allegations made by her parents, saying she was white and had misrepresented her racial identity. A flustered Dolezal said she didn't understand the question before ending the interview and walking off camera.
Throughout Friday and the weekend, media and commentators expressed disbelief and condemnation over the deception, and some argued Dolezal had profited off an assumed identity in exactly the same way she had condemned in the past. On Sunday, comedian Dave Chappelle called her case simply "ridiculous" and noted there was utterly no reason for her to assume a black identity in order to help black people.
With her resignation, Dolezal will likely fade from the spotlight, ending one of the strangest chapters in recent memory covering race and identity. The questions her case raised, however, about what it means to be black and who is qualified to be black are likely to go on.
Read the full statement below:
Dear Executive Committee and NAACP Members,
With much love and a commitment to always fight for what is right and good in this world,