Professor Theodore M. Shaw
Forty years ago, on June 28, 1978, the U.S. Supreme Court decided Board of Regents of the University of California v. Bakke. Having just completed my second year of law school, I was in the Supreme Court when the decision was announced. I would spend much of the next forty years as a civil rights lawyer fighting to defend the Bakke decision, even though I left the Supreme Court that day devastated by what I believed was a loss for African Americans. I still believe that today.
Read More... (Forty Years of Bakke)
Posted by Theodore M. Shaw (Ted) on Fri. June 29, 2018 2:53 PM
Categories: Education, Race Discrimination
Read More... (UNC Center for Civil Rights Inclusion Project Report Examines School Segregation and Educational Equity in Duplin County)
In its new Inclusion Project report
, the UNC Center for Civil Rights examines direct community-based, education advocacy in Duplin County. The Inclusion Project seeks to provide communities, advocates, funders, and policy makers with an understanding of the challenges facing excluded communities. 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.
The UNC Center for Civil Rights’ newest county profile highlights repeated and continuing decisions by Duplin County Schools (DCS) regarding school locations, feeder patterns, grade alignments, and attendance area boundaries that have foreseeably produced racially isolated schools, reflecting historic and deeply entrenched patterns of residential racial segregation. This report is the first installment of a three-part series on education, environmental justice and civic engagement in Duplin County. In the series
, CCR aims to present the data along with an historical perspective to show how the struggles for education equity, environmental justice, and equal access to political representation overlap and inform each other.
Posted by Jennifer Watson Marsh on Wed. August 16, 2017 4:16 PM
Categories: Education, Race Discrimination, Segregation
Following the 2013 State of Exclusion report, the UNC Center for Civil Rights released a series of county profiles, containing a more in-depth examination of exclusion and the legacy of racial segregation in the individual counties. The fifth in the series, Orange County, is released today. This report, the other county reports, and the statewide report, are all available at www.uncinclusionproject.org.
Nestled in the Raleigh-Durham metropolitan area, Orange County boasts three prosperous towns, a low unemployment rate and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Behind this prosperity lies a sharp divide between rich and poor, often along racial lines. As the county has grown, the cost of living has increased and the African American population has declined. The result is outward migration from traditional African American neighborhoods and the county as a whole.
The county’s remaining non-white population disproportionately live in areas with close proximity to solid waste or other potentially polluting facilities. Compared to other wealthy counties or to the state, Orange County has a smaller exposure rate to solid waste facilities for its overall population (3.20% compared to 5.34% statewide), but a higher rate for super majority non-white census blocks (16.72% compared to 9.37%). Additionally, racially identifiable excluded communities still have difficulty obtaining the infrastructure to supply water and sewer access. The County has been working with the cities to address this issue, but it is a slow process.
Read More... (State of Exclusion: Profile on Orange County)
Posted by Brent J. Ducharme on Thu. March 9, 2017 4:14 PM
Categories: Community Inclusion, Education, Environmental Justice, Orange County, Race Discrimination
On January 12th, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sent the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) a letter
expressing “deep concern” that the State has failed to adequately regulate more than 2,220 industrial hog operations concentrated in eastern North Carolina. The News and Observer first reported
on EPA's letter to DEQ Wednesday afternoon.
EPA’s “Letter of Concern” was sent to DEQ as part an ongoing investigation into a federal civil rights complaint filed in September 2014 by the North Carolina Environmental Justice Network (NCEJN), the Rural Empowerment Association for Community Help (REACH), and Waterkeeper Alliance, Inc., under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Current state law allows industrial hog operations to store swine waste in open-air pits, called “lagoons,” before spraying the feces and urine onto fields. In North Carolina, African American, Latino, and Native American residents are disproportionately more likely to live in close proximity to these industrial facilities and be forced to contend with the impacts of these outdated waste management practices.
In October 2016, community members from eastern North Carolina travelled to Washington, D.C. and urged EPA officials to visit the region to experience firsthand the impacts that industrial hog operations have on communities of color. EPA’s twelve-page letter to DEQ comes two months after agency officials completed their trip to eastern North Carolina and gathered testimony from more than 80 residents living near industrial swine facilities.
EPA’s letter advises DEQ to take immediate steps to address the discriminatory impacts of the State’s failure to adequately regulate these industrial hog operations. The letter notes that available, alternative waste management technologies would reduce pollution and odor caused by the current use of lagoon and sprayfield systems. EPA officials also express “grave concern” over the hostility and intimidation that community members who have brought complaints to DEQ have subsequently faced from representatives of the pork industry.
Read More... (EPA: "Deep Concern" Over Discriminatory Impacts of Industrial Hog Operations in North Carolina)
Posted by Brent J. Ducharme on Thu. January 19, 2017 10:15 AM
Categories: Environmental Justice, Race Discrimination
On Tuesday, January 10th, the Walnut Cove Town Board of Commissioners denied an annexation petition filed by residents of Walnut Tree, a predominantly African American community adjacent to the majority white town in southeastern Stokes County. The town board denied Walnut Tree’s petition by a 3-2 vote, with the board’s three white members voting against annexation.
Walnut Tree residents filed their petition under North Carolina’s voluntary annexation statute, which was amended by the General Assembly in 2011 to provide historically excluded, low-wealth communities with greater opportunity to seek annexation into neighboring municipalities. These excluded communities, where a majority of residents are often African American, are unable to vote in municipal elections and frequently lack equal access to water and sewer, emergency services, and other municipal services.
The Walnut Tree subdivision was developed in the early 1970’s, with mortgages offered by the Farmers Home Administration (FmHA) as part of an effort to encourage rural economic development and African American homeownership in the South. Many of Walnut Tree’s first homeowners previously lived in rental housing within Walnut Cove’s town limits, and moved into their new homes with the understanding that they would soon be included in the municipality. However, the Walnut Cove town board has denied multiple annexation petitions filed by Walnut Tree residents since the 1990’s. Meanwhile, the town has annexed several predominantly white areas in the past twenty-five years.
Read More... (Walnut Tree Community Denied Annexation by Walnut Cove Town Commissioners)
The above map shows the town of Walnut Cove's municipal boundaries as of the 1990, 2000, and 2010 Censuses. The map also includes racial demographic data.
Posted by Brent J. Ducharme on Wed. January 18, 2017 5:33 PM
Categories: Annexation, Race Discrimination
On December 6, 2016, the North Carolina Environmental Justice Network (NCEJN), Waterkeeper Alliance, Inc., and Cape Fear River Watch (CFRW) filed a Petition for a Contested Case Hearing with the North Carolina Office of Administrative Hearings. The groups' petition alleges the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has continually failed to respond to credible citizen complaints of illegal activity at industrial hog operations.
NCEJN, Waterkeeper Alliance, and CFRW issued a joint press release after the petition was filed, highlighting the concentration of industrial hog operations in eastern North Carolina and the impact these facilities have on communities of color. "African American, Latino, and Native American communities disproportionately bear the burden of living near industrial hog operations in Eastern North Carolina. NCDEQ has ignored our continued requests for adequate regulation and monitoring of this industry for years. Their continued failure to investigate complaints filed by members of NCEJN and other impacted community members adds insult to injury for people living with the stench and water contamination caused by swine CAFOs," said NCEJN co-director, Naeema Muhammad.
Read More... (Community Organizations File for Administrative Hearing on DEQ's Unanswered Citizen Complaints)
Posted by Brent J. Ducharme on Wed. December 7, 2016 12:36 PM
Categories: Environmental Justice, Race Discrimination
African American, Latino, and Native American residents of Eastern North Carolina are anxiously awaiting help from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in their decades-long struggle to resist the adverse impacts of confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs) disproportionately concentrated in their communities. In September 2014, groups representing those residents, the Rural Empowerment Association for Community Help (REACH) and the NC Environmental Justice Network (NCEJN), joined with Waterkeeper Alliance in filing a complaint under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 against the NC Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) with EPA’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR). The complaint alleges that DEQ’s permitting and oversight of swine CAFOs has a racially discriminatory impact on black, Latino and American Indian North Carolinians.
OCR began its investigation of the complaint in February 2015. This past October, 20 impacted residents traveled to Washington DC to deliver a petition signed by over 95,000 people from across the country urging EPA investigators to come to eastern North Carolina and see the impacts for themselves. The residents met with OCR and with staff of North Carolina legislators, told them about the unbearable stench and pollution from the open pits of hog waste and the fields where the waste is sprayed; the infestation of buzzards, flies and other disease vectors; and the broad range of other ways these operations damage their health and ruin their quality of life. In response, OCR investigators travelled to the state and observed firsthand the impacts on these communities in mid-November. Over the last two and a half years, the complainants, represented by the Center and Earthjustice, have provided OCR with reams of documents and data (including over a decade’s worth of scientific research led by recently deceased Dr. Steve Wing of UNC’s School of Public Health), as well as sworn declarations from many impacted residents, which support the complaint’s allegations.
The community members are pleading with EPA to make a finding of discrimination before the end of 2016.
Read More... (Communities Impacted by CAFOs Ask EPA to Make A Finding of Discrimination By Year’s End)
Posted by Elizabeth M. Haddix on Thu. December 1, 2016 12:40 PM
Categories: Environmental Justice, Race Discrimination
The long and contentious election season is over, and Donald J. Trump is the President-elect of the United States. The 2016 election will have profound results for our country and the world. Among the most important impacts will be the civil and constitutional rights of the citizens and people of the United States.
The UNC Center for Civil Rights is a non-partisan entity. Its mission is the advancement of civil rights in North Carolina, the south, and the nation, and the training of new generations of civil rights lawyers. While we are non-partisan, we are compelled to acknowledge the effects of partisan politics on civil rights. We did not create this reality, and if we could choose, there would be no partisan alignment on civil rights issues.
Read More... (Looking at the Path Ahead)
Posted by Theodore M. Shaw (Ted) on Tue. November 15, 2016 4:49 PM
Categories: General, Race Discrimination