Organizers for the Martin Luther King Jr. Dreamfest in Cary, North Carolina, recently back peddled on a decision to include former NAACP leader Rachel Dolezal in a panel discussion during the event in January, reports the News & Observer.
Town officials announced Wednesday that the disgraced ex-president of the Spokane, Washington, chapter of the NAACP will no longer participate in a panel on racial identity after a noticeably negative response from community members, writes the news outlet:
Jireh Management Group, who had booked Dolezal as part of Cary’s annual MLK celebration, decided to remove her from the panel at the urging of community members, Doug McRainey, Cary’s director of parks, recreation and cultural resources, said Wednesday.
“They made the decision about two weeks ago to remove her from the diversity summit, which we support,” McRainey said. “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.”
When Dolezal’s involvement in Dreamfest was announced in the fall, it drew attention from national media outlets – – and some local criticism. A group of eight Cary clergy wrote a letter to town officials in October expressing their concerns with Dolezal’s inclusion, “considering the overwhelmingly negative response of the African-American community to her behavior.”
In October, Dolezal was criticized once again for profiteering off the Black experience after announcing plans to release her memoirs, reports the New York Daily News.