Former Washington state NAACP leader Rachel Dolezal, who was criticized last year for passing herself off as black, has been tapped to speak at a North Carolina Martin Luther King Day celebration in January.

The Raleigh News & Observer reported the theme of the MLK Dreamfest Celebration in Cary, North Carolina, "Healing Race Relations through Conversation and Participation."

Event organizer Al Cohen told the newspaper that Dolezal was "depicted as a major villain through media because of her preference of racial identity." He says Dolezal committed no crime, adding that "She only had an affinity for a group of people, and she served her community well."

Dolezal has acknowledged that she is "Caucasian biologically," but says she identifies as black.