Announcing our 10th Anniversary Celebration

Durham, N.C. — The Southern Coalition for Social Justice is excited to announce our 10th Anniversary Celebration. The celebration and fundraiser will take place at the Cotton Room in Durham, North Carolina on Friday, October 6 from 7-9:30 PM. There will be an afterparty from 9:30-11 PM.

Our keynote speaker will be Vanita Gupta, President and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and the former head of the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division. For more information on her work, view her bio here.

To learn more about the event, purchase tickets, and sponsor our work, please visit our event page:


Raleigh: Bilingual Candidate Forum to Address Concerns of Latino Voters

Bilingual Candidate Forum to Highlight Public Safety

Community Invited to Hear from Candidates for Sheriff, District Attorney, and Clerk of Court

Raleigh, NC – El Pueblo, Inc., The League of Women Voters, and the National Council of La Raza will host a bilingual candidate forum to highlight public safety, provide an opportunity for voters to hear directly from candidates, and increase participation in the upcoming elections.

WHO: Candidates for Wake County Sheriff, Clerk of Superior Court, and District Attorney District 10, Latino and non-Latino community members who want to learn more about the candidates’ platforms

WHAT: Candidate Forum

WHEN: Saturday, October 18th, 6-8 pm

WHERE: Church of the Good Shepherd

125 Hillsborough Street, Raleigh, NC

Simultaneous interpretation (English-Spanish) and childcare will be provided. Please reserve child care in advance by emailing or calling El Pueblo at (919) 835-1525.

Hosted by:

El Pueblo, Inc.: El Pueblo is a non-profit organization dedicated to Latinos’ achieving positive social change by building consciousness, capacity, and community action.

The League of Women Voters of Wake County: The League of Women Voters of Wake County is a nonpartisan organization whose purposes are to encourage the active participation of all citizens in government, to work to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and to influence public policy through education and advocacy.

The National Council of La Raza (NCLR): NCLR—the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States—works to improve opportunities for Latinos. For more information on NCLR, please visit, or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

logo for Fault Lines documentary

UNC journalism students explore race class and education in Durham, NC

There is no direct means by which a student becomes a dropout, unemployed or a criminal; there is no single decision, policy or process directly responsible for the transformation.

But certain characteristics tend to tip the scales toward either future success or future failure. The intersection of poverty and race can be a statistically dangerous place to be.

On Tuesday, April 22nd, members of the UNC School of Journalism and Mass Communication will be premiering their project, “Fault Lines: Race Class and Education in Durham, North Carolina.”

The screening will unveil the project website, which includes five video documentaries, graphics and a long piece narrative to help explore this complex issue.

Co-sponsored by the Center for Global Initiatives.

The event is free and open to the public. Click here to learn more and RSVP

Helping Youth Honor Sexual Assault Awareness Month

April is so many things to so many people: the beginning of Spring. A chance to honor American Poetry Month. A chance to observe End Mass Incarceration Week. It’s also a time to participate in Sexual Assault Awareness Month. While the Southern Coalition for Social Justice does not work directly on issues of sexual assault, we do believe that a just society is one in which every person – regardless or race, sex, national origin, or ability, should feel safe from sexual violence. We each have the right to bodily autonomy and to say no to physical and mental abuse. For this reason, SCSJ is helping to spread the word about a great event being organized by the North Carolina Coalition Against Sexual Assault (NCCASA) aimed at creating more knowledge and advocacy among youth to battle sexual violence.


Logo of the North Carolina Coalition Against Sexual Assault

The North Carolina Coalition Against Sexual Assault (NCCASA) is currently planning it’s 2014 Young Advocates Institute. The Young Advocates Institute brings together, trains and houses youth, ages 13-17, from across North Carolina for a weekend of prevention education and leadership development workshops. In it’s third year, the Institute is effective as  evidenced by our 90% approval rating from both the 2012 and 2013 participants. Our youth engagement work has doubled 50% since our initial institute as NCCASA has trained an additional 120 students and youth serving organizations.

We are seeking financial partnerships, vendors, volunteers and presenters. This email serves as a request for your participation on a informational conference call on Friday, May 2, 2014 at 2:00pm.

Please register for the call at:

Once you have registered, you will receive an email confirmation with the call-in information and any supporting materials. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me, Tracy D. Wright, at or (919) 871.1015. Continue the amazing work you do. Take care and have a great day. 

Tracy D. Wright

Resource Sharing Project Technical Assistance Provider/WOC Leadership

North Carolina Coalition Against Sexual Assault

811 Spring Forest Road, Suite 900

Raleigh, NC 27609

P: (919) 871-1015

American Flag Behind Bars

End Mass Incarceration Week

From April 5-13, 2014, SCSJ will be honoring End Mass Incarceration Week.

What is End Mass Incarceration Week? It is a week set aside to fully consider the consequences of America’s over-reliance on mass incarceration.

Why is this relevant? Over the last 30 years, the US has experienced an explosion in the number of people who have come in contact with the criminal justice system: about 1.6 million people are currently in prison; 4 million are on probation; and nearly 65 million have a criminal record. In the South, the prison population has grown faster than in any other region. Ending Mass Incarceration is therefore a critically important issue–particularly so for communities of color.

How will SCSJ commemorate End Mass Incarceration Week? We will post daily articles analyzing the impact of mass incarceration in America.  From the “War on Drugs” to private prison corporations to the mental health consequences of solitary confinement, we will examine various facets of America’s carceral state. The week-long observance will conclude with a community-wide event designed to create an open space for dialogue about how mass incarceration affects our communities and what we can do to stop it. This End Mass Incarceration Week event is being generously co-sponsored by the Eno River Unitarian Universalist Fellowship. More details below.

SCSJ honors End Mass Incarceration Week-2

What can I do to participate in End Mass Incarceration Week? There’s lots you can do!

  • Read, respond, and share our daily End Mass Incarceration Week posts on social media.
  • Tell your friends and family why you support an end to Mass Incarceration and suggest that they visit our website.
  • Donate to SCSJ to support our continuing work to help people with existing criminal records and eventually bring an end to mass incarceration.
  • Come to our event on Sunday, April 13 at the Eno River Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Durham!

flyer for End Mass Incarceration Event

  •  Watch and share this video to learn more about mass incarceration in the U.S.

Free symposium explores our progress since the Civil Rights Act of 1964

The Dawn of a New Fulfillment: Equal Justice Under the Law 50 Years after the 1964 Civil Rights Act

On April 11, 2014 you are invited to attend a FREE Symposium at the International Civil Rights Center & Museum in Greensboro, NC bringing together top experts from across North Carolina to speak on the state of minority rights in North Carolina on the 60th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education and the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. This event is co-sponsored by the North Carolina Association of Black Lawyers and North Carolina Advocates for Justice.

Speakers include SCSJ Executive Director Anita Earls, Criminal Justice Staff Attorney Daryl Atkinson, and Board Member James Ferguson.

To register, please email or call Michelle LaPorte or 919.836.4215


8:30 AM                             DOORS OPEN/ Continental Breakfast

9:00 AM                             WELCOME

                                               James E. Williams, Jr.                                                                 

9:05-9:55 AM                    Revival of Plessy: The New Challenge of School Re-segregation

                                                Professor Mark Dorosin

Pimping Brown v. Board of Education: The Destruction of African-American Schools and the Mis-Education of African-American Students

                                                 Professor Irving Joyner  

10:00 -11:00 AM              Congressman G.K. Butterfield


11:00-11:15 AM               Break


11:15-12:00 PM                Racialized Mass Incarceration: The New Jim Crow?

                                                Daryl Atkinson

Raising Race in North Carolina Criminal Cases

                                               Alyson Grine

12:00-1:30 PM                  Lunch On Your Own


1:30-2:00 PM                    Commemorating Legal Scholar and Civil Rights Giant-Julius L. Chambers

                                                James E. Ferguson, II


2:00-2:55 PM                    The Impact of Voter Suppression Laws on the American Democratic Ideal

Anita Earls and Professor Kareem Crayton

3:00-3:40 PM                    The Perils of Litigating Discrimination Cases 50 Years After the 1964 Civil Rights Act

Geraldine Sumter

3:45-4:20 PM                    The Battle Over Reproductive Justice: Politicians in the Doctor’s Office   

Sarah Preston

4:20-4:30 PM                    Questions/ Wrap-Up

James E. Williams, Jr.

4:30-5:30 PM                    Reception          

Speaker bios:

Congressman G.K. Butterfield:

Congressman G. K. Butterfield is a life-long resident of eastern North Carolina. Raised in Wilson, Congressman Butterfield spent his formative years attending Charles H. Darden High School and worked tirelessly in the Civil Rights Movement as a youth.  His parents were Dr. & Mrs. G. K. Butterfield, Sr.  His father practiced dentistry for 50 years and served as the first black elected official in Wilson since Reconstruction.  His mother was a teacher for 48 years.

Congressman Butterfield graduated from college and law school at North Carolina Central University in Durham, North Carolina.  After earning his law degree, Congressman Butterfield founded a law practice in Wilson and served the community in that capacity for 14 years.  He is best known for his successful litigation of voting rights cases that resulted in the election of African-American elected officials.

In 1988, Congressman Butterfield was elected as Resident Superior Court judge.  In this role, he presided over civil and criminal court in 46 counties of North Carolina.  For two years, he served on the North Carolina Supreme Court by appointment of the governor.  Butterfield retired from the judiciary after 15 years of service and successfully ran for Congress.  He was elected to serve the First District of North Carolina in the U.S. House of Representatives in a special election on July 20, 2004, where he continues to serve today.

Attorney James E. Ferguson, II: Commemorating Legal Scholar and Civil Rights Giant Julius L. Chambers

For many decades Mr. Ferguson has been recognized as one of the nation’s top civil rights, personal injury, and criminal defense attorneys. He has been honored by the National Law Journal as one of the nation’s top ten litigators, he has been listed in every edition of The Best Lawyers in America, and he is a member of the Inner Circle of Advocates, an organization limited to 100 of the nation’s top trial lawyers. Mr. Ferguson is based in Charlotte. He served as lead counsel for the Wilmington Ten. He was also one of the attorneys for the defendant in the first hearing under the Racial Justice Act, which resulted in the conversion of Marcus Robinson’s death sentence for murder to life in prison without parole.

Professor Mark Dorosin: “Revival of Plessy: The New Challenge of School Re-segregation” Mark Dorosin is an Adjunct Professor of Law and Managing Attorney, Center for Civil Rights, at the University of North Carolina School of Law.  In that role, he oversees and coordinates the Center’s litigation and advocacy agenda in its core program areas, Educational Advancement and Fair Opportunities and Community Inclusion. The Center’s work in these areas focuses on the most prominent impacts of racial exclusion, including inadequate or substandard housing; lack of basic infrastructure and beneficial economic development; targeting of environmental hazards or socially disfavored land uses; restrictions on civic engagement and political participation; and discriminatory school district boundaries, and school siting, attendance zones and student assignment decisions.

Professor Irving Joyner: “Pimping Brown v. Bd. Of Education: The Destruction of African –American Schools and the Mis-Education of African-American Students.”

Irving Joyner has worked as a Professor at North Carolina Central University (NCCU) School of Law since 1982.  From 1984 to 1992, Joyner served as the Associate Dean of NCCU School of Law.  He regularly teaches courses in Criminal Law; Criminal Procedure; Civil Rights; Race and the Law; Professional Responsibility; and Trial Practice.  As a member of the faculty, Professor Joyner serves on a number of Law School and University committees.  Professor Joyner provides pro bono legal counsel to several political, religious and community organizations and to needy individuals in civil rights and criminal appeals cases.

Attorney Alyson Grine: “Raising Race in North Carolina Criminal Cases”

Alyson Grine joined the School of Government in 2006 and is the Defender Educator at the School of Government.  Prior to that, Grine worked for five years as an assistant public defender representing many non-English speaking Hispanic clients in Orange and Chatham counties. She previously served as a judicial clerk for Chief Justice Henry Frye of the NC Supreme Court in 2000 and Judge Patricia Timmons-Goodson of the NC Court of Appeals in 1999. Grine earned a BA with distinction from UNC-Chapel Hill, a MA in Spanish from the University of Virginia, and a JD with honors from UNC-Chapel Hill. She was honored with the School of Government’s Albert and Gladys Hall Coates Teaching Excellence award for 2013-2014.

Attorney Sarah Preston: “The Battle over Reproductive Justice: Politicians in the Doctor’s Office”

Ms. Preston has been with the ACLU-NC since 2006, directing that organization’s statewide legislative and policy program.  After receiving her bachelor’s degree cum laude from St. Catherine University in Minnesota, she attended Drake University Law School in Des Moines, Iowa, receiving her law degree with certificates in Constitutional Law and Civil Rights and Legislative Practice.  Ms. Preston has been admitted to both the Iowa and North Carolina Bars and sits on a number of state boards, including NC Child, North Carolina Citizens for Justice and the North Carolina Coalition for Alternatives to the Death Penalty.

Attorney Geraldine Sumter: “The Perils of Litigating Discrimination Cases 50 Years After the 1964 Civil Rights Act”

Geraldine Sumter joined the firm. Ferguson, Chambers, and Sumter on December 31, 1982. Since joining the firm, Geraldine has concentrated on employment work primarily. Her other areas of practice include workers’ compensation, small business, non-profit, and other civil rights work including voting rights and school desegregation.  Geraldine received a B.A. from Howard University in 1978 with a major in Political Science and Economics. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa, Summa Cum Laude and was inducted into the Political Science Honor Society (Phi Sigma Alpha). She received her J.D. from Duke University in 1981 where she served on the 1980 National Winning Team of Frederick Douglass Moot Court Competition and the Duke University School of Law Moot Court Board.  Geraldine is a member of the North Carolina and South Carolina State Bars.   For a number of years, Geraldine has been voted by her peers as a Super Lawyer in employment litigation, as well as a member of the “Legal Elite” by Business North Carolina.

Attorney Daryl Atkinson: “Racialized Mass Incarceration: The New Jim Crow?”

Daryl Atkinson is a staff attorney with the Southern Coalition for Social Justice focusing on criminal justice reform issues. Daryl received a B.A. in Political Science from Benedict College, Columbia, SC and a J.D. from the University of St. Thomas School of Law, Minneapolis, MN. Prior to coming to SCSJ, Daryl was a staff attorney at the North Carolina Office of Indigent Defense Services (IDS) where he co-managed the Collateral Consequence Assessment Tool (C-CAT). C-CAT is an online searchable database that allows the user to identify the civil disabilities triggered by North Carolina arrests, indictments, and convictions. Because of Daryl’s intimate knowledge of collateral consequences he was chosen to serve on an advisory committee for the American Bar Association’s collateral consequence project.

Attorney Anita Earls and Professor Kareem Crayton: “The Impact of Voter Suppression Laws on the American Democratic Ideal.”  

Anita Earls is an accomplished civil rights attorney who is serving as Executive Director of the Southern Coalition for Social Justice in Durham, North Carolina. She is one of the attorneys representing the plaintiffs who are challenging the gerrymandered redistricting that was passed by the North Carolina General Assembly in 2010. Prior to founding the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, she was Director of Advocacy at the UNC Center for Civil Rights and Director of the Voting Rights Project at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. In the Clinton Administration Ms. Earls was a Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, where she had responsibility for the Division’s Voting, Educational Opportunities, Disability Rights and Coordination and Review sections.

Kareem Crayton is an Associate Professor at UNC School of Law.  Crayton is a innovative scholar whose work integrates law, politics and race. He is one of the very few academics with formal skills in law and political science whose work addresses the relationship between race and politics in representative institutions. The insights from Professor Crayton’s research have distinguished him as a leading voice in the academy and in public institutions. His commentary, insight, and analysis regularly appear in major media outlets including The New York Times, PBS, and Fox News.