NAACP leader Dolezal cancels chapter meeting

SPOKANE, Wash. -- Amid unanswered questions about her ethnic identity and continued leadership, local NAACP acting president Rachel Dolezal on Sunday canceled a Monday meeting of the chapter.

"Due to the need to continue discussion with regional and national NAACP leaders, tomorrow's meeting is postponed and will be rescheduled for a later date," Dolezal said in an announcement emailed to media on Sunday.

Dolezal, who is also chairwoman of a police oversight committee, said Friday that she and her executive board would be making a statement at the Monday meeting about claims she misled people about her race.

The announcement was also e-mailed to NAACP members. In the email chain Sunday, Executive Committee Chair Lawrence Burnley wrote:

"I'm puzzled by your decision to arbitrarily cancel/postpone the meeting without input from the executive committee which is scheduled to meet today. The Association's by-laws provides specific guidelines concerning monthly general/branch meetings. Article V, Section 1 states, "Regular meetings shall be held on a fix day or date each month."

That date, as agreed upon by the executive committee, is the third Monday of each month which is tomorrow. I don't see any language in the by-laws that empowers you, or any one member, to arbitrarily cancel/postpone tomorrow's meeting."

Spokane NAACP members began a petition drive this weekend asking Dolezal to take a leave of absence, and some had planned to protest outside Monday's meeting. It was unclear Sunday whether the protests would still go on.

"This is not about race. This is about integrity," said Kitara Johnson, organizer of the petition drive.

Dolezal's parents said Thursday that she was born Caucasian and has been deceiving people into thinking she was African American since 2004.

Rachel's parents said their daughter has always identified with the African American culture and has black adopted siblings. They said she went to school in Mississippi and was part of a primarily African American community.

The Dolezals said Rachel married and later divorced a black man. They said after the divorce in 2004, Rachel began identifying differently. She started claiming to be partially African American and the daughter of bi-racial parents. They said they have noticed her change in physical appearance but do not know how she did so.

"Rachel has wanted to be somebody she's not. She's chosen not to just be herself but to represent herself as an African American woman or a biracial person. And that's simply not true," said Ruthanne Dolezal.


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