FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 28, 2022
Yanceyville, N.C. (Feb. 28, 2022) — In a Monday hearing, the Southern Coalition for Social Justice defended the Thomas Day-Caswell Holt Branch of the NAACP and members of their leadership against a lawsuit designed to intimidate local residents from speaking out about issues important to their community.
The lawsuit, Carolina Sunrock LLC et al. v. Dougherty, et al., filed in Caswell County Superior Court in October 2021, advances an unfounded claim that local residents’ public concerns about a new polluting industry in their county somehow violated the corporation Carolina Sunrock’s vested rights. Today’s hearing focused on the NAACP defendants’ motion to dismiss the case, which is necessary to protect their right to freedom of speech and political participation.
“Carolina Sunrock’s lawsuit is a strategic attempt to silence dissent and limit community self-determination in Caswell County,” said Mitchell Brown, Counsel for Voting Rights at the Southern Coalition for Social Justice. “The ability to organize, to engage with local officials, and defend our neighborhoods’ safety and health is a basic right of all North Carolinians. We are confident the court will vindicate our clients’ First Amendment rights by dismissing this frivolous case.”
SCSJ, alongside the North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP, previously protected Caswell residents’ ability to advocate for political change in November 2021. In a now-dismissed case, Wrenn v. Caswell County, outside attorneys attempted to dismantle two voting districts protecting Black voters’ ability to elect candidates of their choice. If the lawsuit had been successful, Caswell County residents would have lost local elected officials responsive to community needs.
A ruling from the Caswell County Superior Court is expected in the coming weeks.
Gino Nuzzolillo, firstname.lastname@example.org, 402-415-4763
The Southern Coalition for Social Justice, founded in 2007, partners with communities of color and economically disadvantaged communities in the South to defend and advance their political, social, and economic rights through the combination of legal advocacy, research, organizing, and communications. Learn more at southerncoalition.org and follow our work on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.