FILE - In this Friday, Jan. 16, 2015, file photo, Rachel Dolezal, center, Spokane's newly-elected NAACP president, smiles as she meets with Joseph M. King, of King's Consulting, left, and Scott Finnie, director and senior professor of Eastern Washington University's Africana Education Program, before the start of a Black Lives Matter Teach-In on Public Safety and Criminal Justice, at EWU, in Cheney, Wash. Dolezal's family members say she has falsely portrayed herself as black for years.

Tyler Tjomsland/The Spokesman-Review via AP

Dolezal made headlines after she—a White civil rights activist—spent years passing as a Black woman.

Taylor Lewis
Jun, 12, 2015

In response to the backlash surrounding the Rachel Dolezal controversy, the NAACP has issued a statement supporting Dolezal's advocacy record and supporting her work in the community.

"One's racial identity is not a qualifying criteria or disqualifying standard for NAACP leadership," the statement reads. 

Dolezal, who is currently the president of the Spokane, Washington, chapter of the NAACP, made headlines after it was revealed that she was a White woman who has passed as Black for years. She has been an outspoken civil rights activist in her community, and she is currently a professor of Africana studies at Eastern Washington University. She darkened her skin color, adopted Black hairstyles and attended Howard University. 

Dolezal "passing" as a Black woman has outraged thousands of people worldwide, but the NAACP stands by her. Organization officials are discouraging hate mail or online threats, and they said that they are respecting her privacy during this time.

"In every corner of this country, the NAACP remains committed to securing political, educational and economic justice for all people," the statement says, "and we encourage Americans of all stripes to become members and serve as leaders in our organization."