Spokane NAACP responds to Rachel Dolezal interview; Requests SPD - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Spokane NAACP responds to Rachel Dolezal interview; Requests SPD and USPS to pursue reports of hate mail

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Matt Lauer interviews Rachel Dolezal on the Today Show Tuesday morning Matt Lauer interviews Rachel Dolezal on the Today Show Tuesday morning
SPOKANE, Wash. - Following Rachel Dolezal's interview on The Today Show Tuesday morning, the Spokane NAACP released a statement commending Dolezal for her contributions to the community and their organization, while at the same time asking the United State Postal Service and the Spokane Police Department to continue their investigation into Dolezal's claims of receiving hate mail. 

"In response to recently reported acts of hatred, we call upon the appropriate law enforcement officials and the United States Postal Service (USPS), not to minimize such acts in our community. The Spokane NAACP is requesting that the Spokane Police Department, the USPS and other agencies involved give full disclosure of the findings, conclusions, and ongoing investigations related to the “Hate Mail” received at the Spokane NAACP mailboxes and related incidents. Further, we call upon law enforcement to actively pursue all three 'Hate Mail' incidences reported," a release by the organization said. 

The release commented on Dolezal's qualifications to run the organization and said race had nothing to do with it. 

"The questions being raised about the racial and ethnic background of former President Rachel Dolezal did not affect her qualifications to serve the organization."

Dolezal told NBC's Matt Lauer on The Today Show Tuesday morning that she identifies as black, despite being born white. 

Lauer asked, "When did you start deceiving people?" during his interview and Dolezal said she takes exception to that. 

"It's more complex in being true or false," Dolezal responded. 

The Spokane NAACP said in their statement Tuesday, they appreciate her willingness to step aside, so the branch can shift their focus to the working with the Spokane community on the ongoing work for social justice.

"While we laud President Dolezal's commitment to justice and equitable change, we also acknowledge, understand and share many of the concerns that have been voiced about her leadership. We are grateful to Rachel for her willingness to step aside so the Spokane Branch can shift our focus to the ongoing work for social justice. Our thoughts and prayers are with her and her family as they go through this difficult time. Yet, the Executive Board realizes that in many ways this has been a difficult time for our community as a whole. Understandably, many people are hurt and angry. We look forward to working through these issues together," the release stated. 

The release in its entirety reads: 

For 95-years the Spokane National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Branch #1137 has had a long standing commitment to ensuring the political, educational, social, and economic equality of all people. As an organization, we are committed to ongoing advocacy for a society in which all individuals can have equal rights without discrimination.

Our commitment to the struggle against injustice of all forms is not determined by the racial and ethnic identity of our leadership. The questions being raised about the racial and ethnic background of former President Rachel Dolezal did not affect her qualifications to serve the organization.

Subsequent to former President Dolezal's election in December 2014, she demonstrated courageous and empowering leadership. She rejuvenated the local NAACP committees and drew in leaders from all walks of life. These committees have enabled our Branch to highlight important community concerns and advocate for equitable social change.

While we laud President Dolezal's commitment to justice and equitable change, we also acknowledge, understand and share many of the concerns that have been voiced about her leadership. We are grateful to Rachel for her willingness to step aside so the Spokane Branch can shift our focus to the ongoing work for social justice. Our thoughts and prayers are with her and her family as they go through this difficult time. Yet, the Executive Board realizes that in many ways this has been a difficult time for our community as a whole. Understandably, many people are hurt and angry. We look forward to working through these issues together.

The Spokane Branch's work for social change has sparked conversation within our city and across our region. The NAACP has been working on a number of programs and initiatives aimed at achieving positive outcomes for marginalized, oppressed and underserved communities. Many have responded to our call for solidarity and others have lashed out with acts of hatred because of this work.

In response to recently reported acts of hatred, we call upon the appropriate law enforcement officials and the United States Postal Service (USPS), not to minimize such acts in our community. The Spokane NAACP is requesting that the Spokane Police Department, the USPS and other agencies involved give full disclosure of the findings, conclusions, and ongoing investigations related to the “Hate Mail” received at the Spokane NAACP mailboxes and related incidents. Further, we call upon law enforcement to actively pursue all three “Hate Mail” incidences reported.

The Spokane Branch, now under the leadership of President Naima Quarles-Burnley, needs the continued support of the Association membership and community partners so the work we started will continue to move forward. The Spokane NAACP, Branch #1137 is an organization that operates with integrity, dignity and places a high value on truth. Truth always matters! At the core of the struggle for justice must be an unwavering commitment to integrity and truth. We will continue to move forward with our pledge to work for justice!



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