Rachel Dolezal's support in Spokane slipping

Local civil rights leaders critical of her actions and her delayed response

By Salon Staff
June 15, 2015 2:54PM (UTC)
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Rachel Dolezal in 2009, standing in front of a mural she painted at the Human Rights Education Institute's offices in Coeur d'Alene, idaho. (AP/Nicholas K. Geranios)

More bad news for Rachel Dolezal: While the national NAACP expressed support for her last week, she's losing backers in Spokane, Washington, where she leads the civil rights' organization's local chapter.

In interviews with the Spokane newspaper, The Spokesman-Review, or in emails obtained by the paper, several Spokane civil rights leaders and NAACP members expressed their concerns.


Freda Gandy, executive director of the Martin Luther King Jr. Family Outreach Center in Spokane, said Sunday she is angry the NAACP is backing Dolezal, whose actions she said are inexcusable.

“Ethically, I don’t really know how they can say she can be an effective leader when she has lied to an entire community,” Gandy said in an interview with The Spokesman-Review.

Dolezal postponed a meeting on Monday during which she had said she would address reports that she has misled people about her race.

That didn't sit well with the chairman of the Spokane NAACP's executive committee:

Lawrence Burnley ... emailed Dolezal and NAACP members to say he doesn’t believe Dolezal has the authority to postpone the meeting.

“I don’t see any language in the by-laws that empowers you, or any one member, to arbitrarily cancel/postpone tomorrow’s meeting,” he wrote. ...

"It seems to me that it would be prudent to allow for or invite your executive committee to weigh in on a decision such as this.”

Added Justin Pimsanguan in an email to Spokane NAACP members: “(I)t is overwhelmingly clear that the nation is laughing at us, causing great embarrassment to Spokane, our NAACP chapter and the efforts we have made for social justice.”


Other chapter members plan a demonstration in support of "integrity" on Monday afternoon.

Salon Staff

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Naacp Race Rachel Dolezal Spokane