Dr. Kareem Crayton Hired as Interim Director for the Southern Coalition for Social Justice

DURHAM, N.C. – The Board of Directors for the Southern Coalition for Social Justice (SCSJ) has hired Kareem Crayton, J.D., Ph.D. to serve as the interim executive director as the organization conducts a search for a full-time director.  Anita Earls, the organization’s current executive director and founder, is stepping down from her position at the end of the year to run for a seat on the Supreme Court of North Carolina.


Dr. Crayton’s employment with the civil rights organization will start on January 1, 2018.


“We are incredibly fortunate to have Dr. Kareem Crayton be a part of this transition,” said Farad Ali, Chair of SCSJ’s Board of Directors.  “In the 10 years since our founding, the Southern Coalition for Social Justice has become one of the premier civil rights organizations in our country.  We are committed to moving forward, and Dr. Crayton is the right person to help us do just that.”


Dr. Crayton is an internationally respected scholar, expert, and consultant whose work centers on the intersection of law, politics, and race. He is the only academic in the United States in law and political science whose primary work explores the relationship between race and politics in representative institutions. A native of Montgomery, Alabama, Crayton is a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard College and holds a Ph.D. in Political Science as well as a law degree from Stanford University.  Aside from managing a consulting firm, Dr. Crayton has most recently served on the faculty of Vanderbilt University Law School.


“The  Southern Coalition for Social Justice is vital to defending the civil rights of marginalized communities in the South,” said Dr. Kareem Crayton.  “Having worked with this organization over the years as a partner, I know the key role SCSJ plays in making our governing institutions more accountable and responsive.  I am therefore excited to lead the board, staff, and our community partners through this phase and to make sure we continue this important work well into the future.”


Anita Earls, SCSJ’s current director, praised the board’s decision. “Kareem brings great insight to our organization. His deep knowledge of issues related to race, politics, and the South will be an incredible asset to the coalition,” said Earls.  “I am comforted to know that Dr. Crayton will be taking charge of the organization I founded and love.”


“There is no way that SCSJ would have accomplished everything we have without the leadership of Anita Earls.  We are thankful for and will certainly miss her leadership,” said Farad Ali.   “Our work moves forward, though.  We will continue to challenge unconstitutional racial and partisan gerrymandering that disenfranchises people and communities of color.  We will persist in our advocacy for reforming the criminal justice system, ending the school-to-prison pipeline, and creating fairer and safer schools for our youth.


Racial Justice Training Institute

Shriver Racial Justice Training Institute Applications Open

Don’t Miss the Call to Action!
Application Deadline: February 27, 2015!

With recent events in Ferguson, Staten Island, and elsewhere, our nation is at a pivotal moment in understanding and addressing issues of race, implicit bias, and the structural barriers that marginalize communities of color. It is more important than ever for equal justice advocates to refocus their efforts to affirmatively advance racial equity.

Following the success of the inaugural 2014 Racial Justice Training Institute (which included SCSJ’s Anita Earls and Daryl Atkinson), the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law is pleased to announce the 2015 Racial Justice Training Institute. By placing the most up-to-date racial justice tools in the hands of front line advocates, the Institute provides real opportunities to address the impacts of structural racialization and ensure that race is front and center in our efforts to eradicate poverty in the communities we serve.

The Institute will cover a wide range of equity best practices ranging from traditional litigation and policy advocacy, to media and messaging, to the latest debiasing strategies. Working in teams, and with support from skilled faculty and facilitators, participants will use new racial justice knowledge and skills in their daily work and in the race-equity initiatives that teams will pursue throughout the Institute.

Taking place over six months (June—November 2015), the Institute includes three parts:
PART 1: Online (June 1—June 19, 2015)
PART 2: Onsite in Chicago (June 23-26, 2015)
PART 3: Online (July – November 2015)

Up to 35 advocates will be selected for the second Institute cohort based on a variety of factors, including experience, interest, goals, capacity, and racial and geographic diversity.

Note that we will only consider applicants that apply in teams and that include equal justice lawyers as part of those teams.

Learn more about the Racial Justice Training Institute

Application Deadline: February 27, 2015

The Racial Justice Training Institute is supported by the Ford and Annie E. Casey Foundations and Northwestern University School of Law.

Detained or deported: what about my children?

Resource for Detained or Deported Parents

The Women’s Refugee Commission has announced the release of its groundbreaking new publication, Detained or Deported: What about my children? What to do if you can’t be with them.

This toolkit is designed to help immigrant parents keep their families together. It is the first-ever comprehensive, nationwide resource to help families who are caught between the immigration and child welfare systems.

The toolkit will also be a valuable resource for attorneys, advocates, family members and others who work with immigrant families. It provides critical information to ensure that family unity and children’s best interests are taken into consideration in immigration, child welfare, and family court decisions.

More than 5,100 children are currently in the U.S. foster care system because a parent has been detained or deported. Some parents have even lost their parental rights, and will likely never see their children again.

Detained and deported parents retain the legal right to make decisions about what happens to their children, even if children are temporarily out of their care. However, practically speaking, logistical barriers, a lack of coordination between the immigration and child welfare systems, and a lack of awareness of undocumented parents’ rights can make it extremely difficult to put families back together once the immigration and child welfare systems are involved.

Detained or Deported: What about my children? guides parents and those who work with them through the steps they need to take to keep children from entering the child welfare system, locate children in that system, comply with a child welfare case plan, participate in family court and make arrangements for children at the conclusion of a parent’s immigration case. It includes information on how to get a lawyer and how to stay in touch with children.

Detained or Deported: What about my children? has been approved by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for placement in all detention facilities that hold adults for more than 72 hours.

An interactive version of the toolkit is available at http://wrc.ms/1gYgvrP

A printable version of the toolkit is available at http://wrc.ms/1ki59zN

For a print copy, contact info@wrcommission.org . Note, supplies are limited.

Learn more about the Women’s Refugee Commission’s work on parental rights at http://wrc.ms/1oRrgwx

Daryl Atkinson Ban the Box

Ban the Box Webinar

Ban the Box:  It’s Time for Fair Hiring in the South 

“Ban the box” delays arrest and/or conviction inquiries in the hiring process to offer job applicants with records a fair chance to work.  As bipartisan efforts and support from across the political spectrum increase, fair hiring campaigns have taken off in the South.  There’s a new willingness among conservatives to consider criminal justice reform and to decrease spending on mass incarceration.  Learn how you can harness these trends to reduce employment barriers for people with convictions and tune in for Q&A with the panelists following the discussion.

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Please join with members of the New Southern Strategy Coalition for a FREE webinar to share their successful strategies and challenges to “ban the box” efforts in the South.

Date:    Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Time:   12:00 EDT

To Register Click Here 


Moderator:    Michelle Natividad Rodriguez, National Employment Law Project

Daryl Atkinson, Southern Coalition for Social Justice, North Carolina
DeAndre Brown, Lifeline to Success, Tennessee
Marissa McCall Dodson, Georgia Justice Project
Nsombi Lambright, One Voice, Mississippi


About SCSJ

The Southern Coalition for Social Justice responds to community-determined priorities. We view local social justice struggles from a global international human rights perspective and believe it takes a holistic, collective and interdisciplinary approach to address issues at their core, bring sustained structural change, and alter power relations. Through involvement in collaborations such as the New Southern Strategy Coalition, we take our local work and “scale up” to make it relevant throughout the Southern U.S.

SCSJ and Ban the Box

SCSJ has empowered communities throughout North Carolina to adopt Ban the Box policies. Our online Ban the Box Toolkit allows people living anywhere to access our free tools for tailoring a Ban the Box campaign to their own community. We hope that you can join us and our partners in the New Southern Strategy Coalition for the June 3 webinar on Ban the Box.

Training Opportunity: The Fight of Media Justice and The State of Black America

You’re Invited to the Media Action Grassroots Network (MAG-Net)‘s Black History Month Digital Dialogue

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February 26th MAG-Net Digital Dialogue: “The Fight of Media Justice and The State of Black America”

Last month, the #SOTU address focused on the “strides” that America has made regarding jobs, education and healthcare. Though notable, we know that vast inequity exists for our Nation’s black communities. Today African Americans experience a 12% unemployment rate, underfunded public schools, are uninsured, and are the most impacted by the school to prison pipeline. Much, if not all of this, driven by a corporate narrative that entrenches and exacerbates these pre-existing inequities.

In honor of black history month, and under the umbrella meme #blacklivesmatter, MAG-Net is presenting a digital dialogue that will allow presenters to highlight key policy fights, current campaigns, and organizing opportunities that bring together a range of legacy struggles for social change with a media justice lens.

Co-moderated by Dr. Artika Tyner of Community Justice Project & Betty Yu of Center for Media Justice

Register here.