Rachel Dolenzal, the former Spokane, Wash., NAACP leader who was engulfed in controversy last year when she admitted she is white, has stepped away from a racial diversity summit in Cary, North Carolina, next month.
Dolezal was slated to participate in the Martin Luther King Jr. Dreamfest, but decided to step down amid intense backlash after the community learned of her inclusion in the Jan. 14-16 diversity summit, themed “Healing Race Relations through Conversation and Participation.”
Dolezal, 39, also a former instructor of African studies, had portrayed herself as black despite being born to and raised by white parents.
The public relations group that booked Dolezal for the summit removed her from the panel at the urging of community members, according to Doug McRainey, Cary’s director of parks, recreation and cultural resources.
“They made the decision about two weeks ago to remove her from the diversity summit, which we support,” McRainey said, the News and Observer reported. “We had two focus group meetings with citizens and pastors, and I think the feeling was that her presence would take away from the goals of the Dreamfest.”