On September 10 and 11, 2016, Center staff attorney Elizabeth Haddix joined residents from Sampson, Duplin, Bladen and Pender counties who suffer the impacts from industrial pork and poultry operations concentrated in their communities at a national summit hosted by the Oneida Nation in Green Bay, WI entitled “Factory Farm Summit: Demanding Accountability in Agriculture.” The summit, which brought together farmers, residents, researchers and advocates from across the country, was organized by the Socially Responsible Agricultural Project (SRAP), which works throughout the U.S. helping communities protect themselves from the negative impacts of factory farms, officially called Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs).
Read More... (Center clients participate in Factory Farm Summit, Green Bay, WI)
Posted by Elizabeth M. Haddix on Fri. September 16, 2016 2:11 PM
Categories: Environmental Justice
The above map shows clusters of Census blocks in Wilmington where 75% or more of residents are non-white. A statewide map is available at http://www.uncinclusionproject.org/.
In New Hanover County, public school officials continue to grapple with the tension between promoting racial and socio-economic diversity in schools and the political pressure of suburban parents who favor an assignment plan that emphasizes proximity, often referred to as a “neighborhood school” plan. That term can be misleading when only certain neighborhoods are prioritized, and ignores the reality that such assignment plans reinforce patterns of residential segregation and sacrifice the educational benefits of racially and socio-economically diverse schools. In its new Inclusion Project report, the UNC Center for Civil Rights describes direct community-based, education advocacy in New Hanover County. The Inclusion Project grew out of the Center’s community-based advocacy focused on addressing structural inequities and promoting racial equity and inclusion. The project began in 2013 with the release of “The State of Exclusion” report, and includes a series of county profiles analyzing the continuing impacts of the legacy of racial segregation.
Read More... (UNC Center for Civil Rights Inclusion Project: Education Advocacy in New Hanover County)
Posted by Brent J. Ducharme on Tue. September 6, 2016 12:03 PM
Categories: Community Inclusion, Education
Harry Briggs Jr. (far right) with classmates. ©NAACP LDF.
On August 9, 2016, Harry Briggs Jr. passed away at his home in the Bronx, New York. In 1947, at the age of 12, Briggs Jr. was the first to sign a petition in Clarendon County, South Carolina demanding equal access in education for black students. The court case that followed that petition, Briggs v. Elliot, was one of five consolidated cases in Brown v. Board of Education. Although Brown became the recognizable name in ruling “separate but equal” education unconstitutional, Briggs was the first of the five cases to challenge racial segregation, and its plaintiffs suffered mightily for it.
Read More... (Remembering Harry Briggs Jr. and Continuing His Legacy)
Posted by Brent J. Ducharme on Mon. August 22, 2016 2:16 PM
Categories: Education, Segregation
In an important decision protecting the constitutional rights of juvenile offenders, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed the State’s appeal in Hayden v. Butler
. In September 2015, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina declared the State’s parole process for juvenile offenders unconstitutional, and ordered the State to reform the system. The State appealed that decision, and the Center for Civil Rights and the UNC Youth Justice Clinic filed an amicus brief in support of Shaun Hayden, who is represented by North Carolina Prisoner Legal Services.
Read More... (Fourth Circuit Ruling Supports Challenge to Parole System for Juvenile Offenders)
Posted by Mark Dorosin on Tue. August 2, 2016 12:03 PM
Categories: Criminal Justice
Today the U.S Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit reversed
decisions of the North Carolina Federal District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina in consolidated cases challenging sweeping restrictions on voting rights enacted by the North Carolina legislature. We are heartened by the Appellate Court’s decision today, which, taken with a similar decision by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals which covers Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas, constitutes a significant turn against racial discrimination in electoral politics.
Read More... (4th Circuit Strikes Down North Carolina's Voter ID Law)
Posted by Theodore M. Shaw (Ted) on Fri. July 29, 2016 2:43 PM
Categories: Amicus Curiae, Race Discrimination, Voting Rights
On Monday, July 18, 2016, the Center for Civil Rights filed its reply brief to the North Carolina Court of Appeals in Silver v. Halifax County Board of Commissioners, reasserting its fundamental argument that a board of county commissioners—like any government actor or agency—has a constitutional obligation to ensure schoolchildren have the opportunity to secure a sound basic education.
The case was filed by the Coalition for Education and Economic Security (CEES), the Halifax County Branch of the NAACP, and three parents and guardians of schoolchildren in Halifax. The plaintiffs assert that the county commissioners’ inequitable and inefficient allocation of education resources among, and maintenance of, three racially segregated and low performing school districts in the county violates the right of students to receive a sound basic education as guaranteed by the North Carolina Constitution (and affirmed by the North Carolina Supreme Court in the Leandro cases). Incredibly, the commissioners insist that while they admittedly have constitutional and statutory obligations to provide critical educational resources, those obligations have no relation to or bearing upon the right to or provision of a constitutionally-complaint education in Halifax County.
Read More... (Halifax County School Adequacy Appeal Briefing Completed; Oral Argument to be Scheduled)
Posted by Brent J. Ducharme on Wed. July 20, 2016 4:22 PM
Categories: Education, Halifax County, Leandro, Segregation
On July 11, 2016, three heirs of individuals forcibly sterilized under North Carolina’s forty-year eugenics program filed a brief in their appeal to the North Carolina Supreme Court, continuing their effort to obtain restitution for the injustices their families suffered at the hands of the State Eugenics Board.
These family members of the victims of the state’s forced sterilization program have been denied restitution because of the Eugenics Compensation Act’s so-called “living victim threshold,” which requires that sterilization victims be alive on June 30, 2013 to be eligible for compensation. In February, the North Carolina Court of Appeals ruled that it did not have jurisdiction to hear the appellants’ constitutional challenge to the living victim threshold. Instead, the court held that the appellants must begin the process all over again and present their constitutional claim to a three-judge panel convened in Wake County Superior Court.
Read More... (Eugenics Victims File Brief in Appeal to NC Supreme Court)
Posted by Brent J. Ducharme on Tue. July 19, 2016 4:00 PM
Categories: Race Discrimination, Sterilization