SCSJ’s Youth Justice Project Welcomes New Co-Directors

Two new staff members join the Southern Coalition for Social Justice (SCSJ) this month. Attorneys Ricky Watson and Peggy Nicholson will serve as Co-Directors of the Youth Justice Project (formerly Youth Justice North Carolina), which merged with SCSJ in early January 2015.
The Youth Justice Project (YJP) works to ensure equity, fairness, and justice for youth in high-quality education, juvenile, and criminal systems. YJP’s work is a natural extension of SCSJ’s ongoing dedication to addressing issues of racial equity in education, eliminating racial bias in the juvenile and criminal systems, ending mass incarceration, and removing unjust barriers faced by persons with criminal records.
“On behalf of the SCSJ staff and board, we are thrilled to welcome Peggy and Ricky,” said Anita Earls, SCSJ’s Executive Director. “This represents a crucial new stage in our work that has been over a year in the making for us, and involved even longer planning and effort from the Youth Justice Project Advisory Council.”
Ricky comes to SCSJ with a long-standing commitment to public service. He has worked in the justice system as an Assistant Public Defender in Guilford County, representing hundreds of adult and juvenile clients in court proceedings. While focusing primarily on juvenile delinquency matters, Ricky developed an understanding of the issues plaguing the juvenile system and the need for structural changes. After a brief hiatus to work for the Federal Government, Ricky is excited and eager to get back to work on issues that matter with SCSJ!
For the past four years, Peggy has worked on education justice issues in her capacity as an attorney with Advocates for Children’s Services of Legal Aid of North Carolina.  As a Legal Aid attorney, Peggy represented hundreds of students and parents experiencing school push-out, conducted dozens of community outreach presentations on school-to-prison pipeline issues, and collaborated with numerous education justice advocates across the state.  She is excited to continue this work in her role as YJP Co-Director with SCSJ.
“We are so fortunate to have found two dedicated and dynamic advocates who care passionately about the need to change our educational and juvenile justice systems,” said Earls.  “We know together their skills and talents will make a lasting positive contribution to the Youth Justice Project mission.”
For more information on the Youth Justice Project, please visit or contact the Co-Directors at the emails below.
Ricky Watson:
Peggy Nicholson: