On Friday, Rachel Dolezal released a statement to members of the Spokane NAACP. As previously reported by the Inquisitr, the statement came following allegations that Dolezal, president of the chapter, lied about her race. A couple claiming to be Dolezal’s biological parents denied she had any black heritage.
Dolezal’s release said she had spoken with her executive committee. The organization would make a statement about the situation Monday, after which she would release her own personal statement. The group has welcomed emailed questions from members, which will be vetted and responded to after Dolezal speaks.
Earlier on Friday, People spoke with two individuals who knew Dolezal in a professional capacity. Both were surprised by the revelations. Elizabeth Phillips was one of Dolezal’s African-American studies students at Eastern Washington University.
“I’m just confused by the whole thing.
“I thought she was mixed. She said her dad was black and her mom was white… that’s kind of a big thing to lie about.”
But she does not harbor ill will towards her former teacher, even though Phillips, herself half African American, found some of her alleged actions offensive.
“I don’t hate her. I think she’s a great person. She just needs to be comfortable in her own skin.”
Rachel Dolezal wrote a chapter in Kyle Farmbry’s book The War on Poverty: A Retrospective. Farmbry told People he is loyal to Dolezal because of her advocacy work.
“Truth told, my perspective is if someone takes a stand for people who are at the margins, I really don’t care who they are or what they look like.”
When the story first came to light, the NAACP stood behind Dolezal, as CNN reported.
“One’s racial identity is not a qualifying criteria or disqualifying standard for NAACP leadership. The NAACP Alaska-Oregon-Washington State Conference stands behind Ms. Dolezal’s advocacy record.”
The group also said it wished to respect Dolezal’s privacy as she worked out a “legal issue” with her family.
Morgan Jerkins wrote in Quartz that the story raises many questions about Dolezal personally and about broader issues of race, identity, and advocacy. Jerkins also sees Dolezal’s passion for community work as a missed opportunity.
“[H]er story does provide an opportunity for reflection. A white president of the Spokane NAACP chapter could have been an example of proud, interracial cooperation and mutual respect. Now, her legacy may ultimately be that of a warning instead: the truth is always more powerful than a lie.”
[Photo by Rajah Bose / The New York Times via The National Post]