Washington civil rights leader opens package to find racist Facebook threats come to life
The president of an NAACP chapter in Washington received a package containing racist threats that referenced her community activism.
Rachel Dolezal, the new head of Spokane’s NAACP, received the package Wednesday at the civil rights group’s post office box, reported The Spokesman-Review.
The large envelope – marked on the outside with “War Pig (Ret.)” and “Still Golfing on Wednesdays” – included photos of lynchings, images showing men and women aiming guns, and a photo of a black suspect used for target practice by police in Florida.
Several items specifically mentioned Dolezal’s public comments, including a speech she gave about racism “choking the justice out of law enforcement.”
Dolezal has led several high-profiled demonstrations related to the police killings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, and she attempted to engage a restaurant owner in a discussion over his response to the “I can’t breathe” police brutality protests.
The restaurant owner mocked Garner’s dying words with a sign outside his business that read, “Shorty can’t breathe, either” – a reference to the beating death of Delbert “Shorty” Belton, a white World War II veteran, by two black teenagers.
Critics, including Spokane City Councilman Mike Fagan, accused Dolezal of trying to bully or silence the restaurant owner by pointing out that some people might be offended by his display.
A viral image about the Belton case posted on the Facebook page “Extremely Pissed Off Right Wingers 2” was included in the package, along with anti-gun control and anti-immigration materials and conspiracy theories about police protests sparking a race war.
Dolezal has been threatened over her civil rights work since arriving in the eastern Washington area seven years ago.
She has received threats from neo-Nazis, had her home broken into, and found a noose left on her front porch – but she said she was alarmed by the latest threat.
“I was really shaken when I was reading this,” Dolezal said. “There were references from my presentation. The person had to be there.”
She has started carrying a gun and pulled her 13-year-old out of class to home school him.
Dolezal said racist extremism seems to be on the rise in her area, which is home to militia and white supremacist groups.
“It just seems like there’s so much tension and conflict right now that it’s unsettling,” she said.