The president of the Spokane, Washington, chapter of the NAACP has resigned after days of controversy sparked when her parents said she had been falsely portraying herself as black for years when she was born to white parents.
Rachel Dolezal has been at the center of national debate for days and has sparked furor on social media. Pictures showing her physical transformation have been widely circulated and discussed in U.S. media.
A post on the NAACP’s Facebook page Monday said Dolezal was stepping down after attention surrounding her became a distraction from the group’s goals.
The statement attributed to her said the dialogue has shifted to her “personal identity in the context of defining race and ethnicity.”
"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. This is not me quitting; this is a continuum," she added.
Spokane authorities are investigating whether Dolezal lied about her ethnicity when she applied to a police oversight committee.
Her mother and father have appeared on U.S. television to say they are white. Her mother described the family's ancestry as Czech, Swedish and German.
While some members of the public and the NAACP had immediately called for Dolezal to step down when the controversy erupted, others have supported her and said it is her right to racially identify as she sees fit.
On Friday, the NAACP issued a statement saying it respects Dolezal’s privacy and that “one’s racial identity is not a qualifying criteria or disqualifying standard for NAACP leadership.”
During her time at the organization, Dolezal had emerged as a prominent figure in the U.S. civil rights movement and she also teaches African studies to college students.
Founded in 1909, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, NAACP, is the oldest and largest nonpartisan civil rights organization in the United States.