<p><p>Among her supporters – the national NAACP who stated that NAACP leaders aren’t required to be African American – and locally, she has support from activist and community leader Rev. Willie A. Douglas, who sent an email to Dolezal to express his support.
“Keep your head up with continued focus on the mission/aims/purpose of the NAACP Organization,” Douglas said. “The main concern at hand is that you are somebody, who has the courage / strength and vision to sustain as a person who has passion for the ill effects of the poor / less fortunate / underserved. You are to be commended for your stance, and the person you are, a human being with heart, who cares about those who are victimized by injustices.”
Douglas went on to encourage her to “stay strong in the Spirit of the higher authority God” and do not waver from your steadfast walk in service to address the inequities of society.”
The NAACP issued a statement last week supporting Dolezal, who has been a longtime figure in Spokane’s human-rights community and teaches African studies to college students.
Dolezal was elected president of the local NAACP chapter about six months ago, The Spokesman-Review reported.
Most recently, Dolezal had been mostly silent about the scandal and canceled a chapter meeting Monday where she was expected to speak about the furor sparked over her racial identity before resigning. She also appeared on NBC’s Today show to tell her side of the story and says that she identifies herself as black.
Alice Huffman, the NAACP’s National Region 1 Director, that includes, Washington, Alaska, Oregon, California, North Dakota, Utah, Arizona, and Hawaii said she hoped that Dolezal would have continued her leadership. Unless there are other deeper “legal” issues of integrity, which no one has called out, she said in a letter to the editor of the Sacramento Bee.
“I think this was news just because she, “a white woman,” by society standards headed up an NAACP unit, while defining herself as Black,” she said. “Spokane’s story should be a wake-up call to bright thoughtful leaders like Erika Smith, Rachel Dolezal and others to roll up their sleeves, take the social construct of race off the table, as it can be a barrier, and join forces in America for justice for all. We need everyone who cares.”
Dolezal’s parents have said the 37-year-old activist has falsely portrayed herself as black for years.
Dolezal’s mother, Ruthanne Dolezal, 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.
Some have held demonstrations calling for Dolezal to step down.
Kitara Johnson, a member of the chapter, organized an online petition calling for Dolezal to take a leave of absence.
“It’s not about race, it’s about integrity,” she said. “If you’re a leader, you have to have integrity. She clearly lacks integrity. The other piece is credibility.”
Johnson said she and others plan to peacefully protest outside Monday’s membership meeting, but they will not attend the meeting.
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.