Durham, N.C.— Jasmin Loraine Benas, Srivani Edupuganti, Teya Franks, and Reagan Razon of Enloe High School, in partnership with Education Justice Alliance (EJA) and Southern Coalition for Social Justice (SCSJ), sent a demand letter to the Wake County Board of Education urging the immediate end of all school policing contracts with local law enforcement agencies and greater investments in alternatives to school policing. This termination demand is in response to both Raleigh Police Department’s violent use of force against peaceful protesters following the death of George Floyd and Wake County Public School System’s school policing practices that disproportionately harm Black and Brown students.
Durham, N.C. — By a decision of 3-2 following a formal hearing, the Wayne County Board of Elections upheld Bevan Julius Foster’s win in the Wayne County Board of Commissioners District 3 Democratic Primary, which was held March 3, 2020. Foster, a Black man who previously served on the Goldsboro City Council, won the primary with 40.78% of the votes. His win was challenged by three people who alleged he did not reside in the district he would be representing, and thus was not eligible to run.
SCSJ’s Chief Counsel for Voting Rights and Interim Executive Director Wins 2020 David Carliner Public Interest Award
Durham, N.C. — Allison Riggs, the Southern Coalition for Social Justice’s Chief Counsel for Voting Rights and Interim Executive Director, has been selected as one of two winners of the David Carliner Public Interest Award for her innovative work and commitment to protecting civil and human rights. The award, presented annually by the American Constitution Society, honors a mid-career public interest attorney who exemplifies fearless, uncompromising and creative advocacy on behalf of marginalized people.
Durham, N.C. — On behalf of Democracy North Carolina, the League of Women Voters of North Carolina and eight individual voters, the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, Fair Elections Center and pro bono counsel from law firm WilmerHale have formally requested that a federal court temporarily amend some of the state’s voting laws to guarantee that North Carolinians can vote safely in November’s general election in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Voting Rights Organizations File Federal Lawsuit to Ensure North Carolina Holds Fair, Safe Elections in November
Durham, N.C. — On behalf of Democracy North Carolina, the League of Women Voters of North Carolina and six individual voters, the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, Fair Elections Center and pro bono counsel from law firm WilmerHale have filed a lawsuit demanding North Carolina take the necessary steps to guarantee a fair, safe election in November, given the likelihood that the state and the country will still be experiencing the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Southern Coalition for Social Justice and Dēmos Represent Parties Seeking to Prevent Voter Purges in Election Year
Durham, N.C. — The Southern Coalition for Social Justice (SCSJ) and Dēmos, representing the League of Women Voters of North Carolina (LWVNC) and the North Carolina A. Philip Randolph Institute (NC APRI), have moved to intervene in a lawsuit seeking the mass removal of individuals from voter rolls in Mecklenburg and Guilford counties. These critical civic engagement groups are seeking to intervene as defendants in Judicial Watch v. North Carolina, et al, a case filed in federal court earlier this month in which Judicial Watch is seeking the unjustified purge of thousands of registered voters in the run-up to this November’s presidential election.
The Southern Coalition for Social Justice (SCSJ), in partnership with three organizations focused on racial and educational justice, is urging North Carolina to use $95.6 million in education funds earmarked for the state in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to benefit the most vulnerable students. These vulnerable student populations include students of color, economically disadvantaged students, children with disabilities, homeless students, immigrant students and youth in foster care and the juvenile justice system.
Among the suggested uses for the funding are purchasing laptops or tablets for students who do not have them, creating quiet learning environments for students who are homeless or in foster care and providing training for students and teachers on how to better utilize technology for remote learning.
SCSJ Issues 4th Annual Racial Equity Report Cards Highlighting Disparities in North Carolina Public Schools
Durham, N.C. — While Black students make up 25% of children in North Carolina public schools, they receive 55.2% of all short-term suspensions. White students, who comprise 47.3% of all students, only receive 25.8% of all suspensions. These and other findings of disparity are detailed in the statewide Racial Equity Report Card issued today by the Southern Coalition for Social Justice.
Southern Coalition for Social Justice Files Amicus Brief To Help Protect North Carolina Voters From Intimidation
Durham, N.C. — The Southern Coalition for Social Justice (SCSJ) has filed a brief of amici curiae (“friend of the Court” brief) in support of the defendants in Public Interest Legal Foundation v. North Carolina State Board of Elections, which is currently pending in front of the United States Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit. SCSJ filed the brief on behalf of the Association of Mexicans in North America, Inc., El Pueblo, Inc. and North Carolina Asian Americans Together, nonprofit organizations that advocate on behalf of minority populations across North Carolina, seeking to highlight for the appeals court the risk to voters of color if the decision below is not affirmed.
North Carolina Court of Appeals Blocks Voter ID Law in Key Win for Southern Coalition for Social Justice
Durham, N.C. — The North Carolina Court of Appeals yesterday issued a key decision in Holmes v. Moore, blocking the state’s voter ID law from taking effect until the trial of the case has concluded. The lawsuit challenges the constitutionality of S.B. 824, which was passed in December 2018 following the approval of a state constitutional amendment requiring people in North Carolina to present an ID before voting.
SCSJ Launches CROWD Academies To Protect Voting Rights of Communities of Color During Post-2020 Census Redistricting Process
The Southern Coalition for Social Justice (SCSJ) is partnering with community organizations in six states to offer in-depth training sessions to educate community organizers on the redistricting process and potential voting rights violations following the 2020 census. Community Redistricting Organizations Working for Democracy (CROWD) Academies will equip individuals and organizations with tools to monitor and engage with redistricting processes at every level of government, spot warning signs and take action if decisions are likely to infringe on the right to an equal opportunity to participate in elections.
Durham, N.C. — A North Carolina judge has ruled that accusing someone of an unsubstantiated claim of felony voter fraud can be defamatory and such accusations are not protected speech under federal or state law. This ruling, issued by Judge Allen Baddour in favor of the plaintiffs in Bouvier, et al. v. Porter, et al., means the case will likely proceed to trial in 2020.
Southern Coalition for Social Justice Leads National Initiative To Combat Criminalization of the Ballot Box
Durham, N.C. — As part of its ongoing work to protect voting rights and eliminate barriers for people with past involvement with the criminal justice system, the Southern Coalition for Social Justice recently hosted a national convening to launch its new initiative to address growing efforts to criminalize voting among certain populations, including minorities and individuals with a felony record.
Plaintiffs in North Carolina Voter ID Lawsuit Seek Documents On Legislative Motivations Behind Challenged Law
Durham, N.C. — Plaintiffs in Holmes v. Moore, a lawsuit challenging North Carolina’s voter ID requirements (S.B. 824), filed a motion in Wake County Superior Court earlier today asking a judge to compel the General Assembly to release communications between legislators and General Assembly staff relating to the design of and motivations behind S.B. 824. The motion also requests access to any other materials outside of the public legislative record that the North Carolina House of Representatives and Senate used when drafting the statute. State legislators have previously refused to turn over these documents as part of the lawsuit’s discovery process, citing legislative privilege.
Durham, N.C. — The Southern Coalition for Social Justice (SCSJ) is delighted to announce that Dr. Andra Gillespie, Lisa Jones and Susan Price will join its board of directors, effective immediately. All three of these dynamic women are exceedingly accomplished in their areas of expertise and have a great passion for social justice work and will help reinforce the SCSJ’s regional focus and further develop its expansive programming.
SCSJ and community partners celebrate a win for students and parents of Ashley Elementary after a panel of the Winston-Salem City Council voted unanimously to recommend the sale of city-owned property that will serve as the site of a new school to replace Ashley Elementary. The recommendation is slated to go before the full City Council for consideration on October 21.
Durham, N.C.— The Southern Coalition for Social Justice (SCSJ) is proud to announce that Meredith Horton, a seasoned attorney and accomplished leader in the social justice community, will join the organization as its Deputy Executive Director. Meredith brings to this position more than 15 years of organizing, legal advocacy, program management and grant-making experience on a range of social justice issues. In this new role, Meredith will assume a portfolio of leadership responsibilities that include helping with organizational strategy, staff development, along with budget and operational systems. Her appointment begins October 21.
SCSJ Represents Democracy North Carolina in Amicus Brief Urging State Court to Reject State’s Proposed Remedy Maps
Late Friday, the Southern Coalition for Social Justice submitted an amicus brief on behalf of Democracy North Carolina urging a three-judge state court panel in Common Cause v. Lewis to reject the “remedial” State Senate and House redistricting plans enacted by the General Assembly a little over a week ago. SCSJ and Democracy NC argued that those plans fail to eliminate the partisan bias that led the court to invalidate the prior plans as unconstitutional partisan gerrymanders.