On Friday, March 28, 2014 in Rocky Mount, NC, the Center will participate in a public hearing on voting rights in North Carolina. The goal of the hearings is to gather testimony that can ultimately become part of the U.S. congressional record to restore or revise the Voting Rights Act (VRA) or other legislative measures to address restrictive voting practices and ensure effective, non-discriminatory electoral administration. Similar efforts led by the Lawyers’ Committee in 2005 and 2006 helped secure the reauthorization of the VRA at that time. Recently, Congress introduced new legislation that would eliminate NC from the VRA’s Section 5 coverage formula.
Posted by Jennifer Watson Marsh on Wed. March 26, 2014 10:20 AM
Categories: Community Inclusion, Voting Rights
Following last year’s State of Exclusion report, on Monday March 24, 2014, the UNC Center for Civil Rights released its profile of Lenoir County, the first in a series of in-depth examinations of exclusion and the legacy of racial segregation in individual counties. In the middle of the Black Belt of Eastern North Carolina, Lenoir County is divided between its mostly white rural population and the concentrated African American populations in Kinston and La Grange. This new report focuses on the impact of the racial segregation on public education, political representation, and utility service. Profiles of other counties will follow in the coming weeks, each highlighting particular aspects of that county’s history, ongoing impacts of exclusion, and progress toward full inclusion of all residents.
Posted by Peter Hull Gilbert on Mon. March 24, 2014 11:44 AM
Categories: Community Inclusion, Education, Race Discrimination, Voting Rights
This post was originally posted on the Progressive Pulse by Mark Dorosin, managing attorney of the UNC Center for Civil Rights on Monday, March 11, 2014. This blog post is part of a series called Place Matters.
The Voting Rights Act subjected 40 percent of North Carolina’s counties to the mandatory “pre-clearance” regulations of Section 5, requiring approval of the Department of Justice or the courts before electoral changes that might weaken the voting power of African American. The evisceration of this landmark legislation by the 2013 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Shelby County v. Holder—and subsequent the omission of North Carolina from the covered jurisdictions in newly introduced voting rights legislation—leaves racially excluded communities particularly vulnerable to political isolation and electoral powerlessness.
Posted by Peter Hull Gilbert on Wed. March 12, 2014 9:33 AM
Categories: Community Inclusion, Race Discrimination, Voting Rights
This post was originally posted on the Progressive Pulse by Tazra Mitchell of the North Carolina Budget and Tax Center at the N.C. Justice Center on Thursday, February 28, 2014.
Imagine living in a community that includes the most undesirable and hazardous amenities a place has to offer such as a waste transfer station, a sewage treatment plant, and several landfills. Now, imagine being represented by county officials who decide to provide water and sewer services to an animal shelter but not to the residents—who happen to be more than three-quarters African American. And, these facilities primarily serve the majority-white residents in adjacent communities. Unfortunately, the residents of Royal Oak in Brunswick County don’t have to imagine this; they face this reality every day.
Posted by Peter Hull Gilbert on Wed. March 5, 2014 3:22 PM
Categories: Brunswick County, Community Inclusion, Environmental Justice, Race Discrimination, Segregation
On Tuesday January 21, the Raleigh City Council voted 7-1 to approve the Raleigh Housing Authority’s (RHA) plan to sell 60 units of subsidized low-income housing and turn them into “market-rate” homes. The homes are in Capitol Park, formerly Halifax Court, on the north side of downtown Raleigh. The homes were originally constructed about 15 years ago using money from a federal HOPE VI grant. The RHA plans to sell the 60 units for $300,000, a tiny fraction of their tax value of $8 million. The plan also calls for the loss of an additional 115 public housing units in diverse areas across Raleigh.
Posted by Peter Hull Gilbert on Fri. February 21, 2014 3:28 PM
Categories: Community Inclusion, Fair Housing, Race Discrimination, Wake County
ElectriCities, the organization of North Carolina cites that are also electric utilities, announced recently that it is negotiating the sale of 32 eastern N.C. member cities’ ownership interest in four power plants to Duke Energy. These cities are the local power utility for many low-wealth and excluded communities across what’s commonly referred to as the “Black Belt” of eastern North Carolina. They are also home to the highest electricity rates in the state; many residents report paying more than $500 per month for electricity. In 2009, ElectriCities customers paid $240 million more than they would have if rates were the state average.
Posted by Peter Hull Gilbert on Thu. February 6, 2014 12:16 PM
Categories: Community Inclusion
Center attorneys Mark Dorosin and Bethan Eynon with community leader Gloria Hill after the Northwest Water Supply Inc. annual members meeting.
In 2013, residents of rural Hoke County, North Carolina reached out to the Center for assistance in addressing their concerns about water quality, access to sewer service, and the administration of the local water utility, Northwest Water Supply, Inc. On Tuesday, January 21, 2014, following a series of meetings and energized grassroots organizing, the residents elected three dedicated community advocates to the nonprofit’s Board of Directors.
Posted by Bethan R. Eynon on Tue. January 28, 2014 2:45 PM
Categories: Community Inclusion
The Center was well-represented at Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebrations in Chapel Hill and Southport, North Carolina on January 20, 2014. Managing Staff Attorney Mark Dorosin was the keynote speaker at the NAACP’s historic celebration at First Baptist Church in Chapel Hill following a march down Franklin Street. Read Mark’s speech. Senior Staff Attorney Elizabeth Haddix was the keynote speaker at the 20th annual Roundtable Breakfast program sponsored by the Brunswick County Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Committee at Trinity United Methodist Church in Southport. Read Elizabeth’s speech
Posted by Jennifer Watson Marsh on Thu. January 23, 2014 10:53 AM
Categories: Brunswick County, Community Inclusion, Community Leaders, Education, Orange County, Race Discrimination, Segregation