Blog Posts: Jennifer Watson Marsh

Jennifer Watson Marsh

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.

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Posted by Jennifer Watson Marsh on Wed. August 16, 2017 4:16 PM
Categories: Education, Race Discrimination, Segregation

Community Civic Engagement Training in Duplin County

Center fellow and interns address REACH members
Center fellow and interns address REACH members
REACH members learn about ways to engage with local government
REACH members learn about ways to engage with local government

At the request of the Rural Empowerment Association for Community HELP (REACH), Center for Civil Rights summer interns Daniel Kale, 2nd year UNC Law student, and UNC undergraduate Kendall Cox, with the Center’s new Attorney-Fellow, Allen Buansi, gave a comprehensive overview of opportunities for residents in Duplin County to actively engage with their local government. REACH, made up of members of the local community who regularly gather to address issues of health and environment, invited the Center to present information and answer questions about voting and electoral requirements, election results (including voter turnout) in the most recent local government elections in Duplin County, and advisory boards and commissions appointed by elected officials. Two members of the Duplin County Board of Commissioners attended in this Community Civic Engagement Training, and expressed thanks to the Center for bringing much-needed technical support and information to their constituents.


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Posted by Jennifer Watson Marsh on Tue. July 18, 2017 3:13 PM
Categories: Community Inclusion, General, Law Students, Next Generation Series

Center Receives UNC Diversity Award

The UNC Center for Civil Rights was among those honored at the University Diversity Awards on Tuesday, April 4th. UNC Law Professor and Librarian Donna Nixon presented the Center with the University’s 2017 Diversity Award for Department or Unit. Director Ted Shaw, accompanied by the Center staff, accepted the award and spoke on the importance of continuing civil rights advocacy even as we recognize the 49th anniversary of the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
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Posted by Jennifer Watson Marsh on Wed. April 5, 2017 4:43 PM
Categories: General

Ted Shaw on NCCU's Legal Eagle Review

Center Director Ted Shaw joined Professor Irv Joyner and voting rights advocates from Democracy NC and Southern Coalition for Social Justice on the NCCU Legal Eagle Review radio show. Listen to the podcast .
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Posted by Jennifer Watson Marsh on Wed. September 21, 2016 12:38 PM
Categories: Race Discrimination, Voting Rights

Mass Incarceration: A Civil Rights Crisis

The United States has merely 5% of the world’s population, yet nearly 25% of the world’s prisoners.

North Carolina Advocates for Justice hosted a conference in October 2015, presented by the North Carolina Commission on Racial and Ethnic Disparities (NC-CRED), titled “Understanding Mass Incarceration.”

The presentations highlighted the serious problems that remain deeply imbedded in the American criminal “justice” system; one presenter went as far as saying that he never referred to it as the criminal justice system, and instead opted for the more realistic phrase, “criminal legal system.” The problem of mass incarceration was referred to as a civil rights crisis, as it negatively affects access to housing, employment, voting, and education.

Blog by: Maria Lopez Delgado, 3L, UNC School of Law


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Posted by Jennifer Watson Marsh on Fri. November 20, 2015 2:34 PM
Categories: Community Inclusion, Criminal Justice, Law Students, Race Discrimination

Former Center Fellow Leah Aden Fights for Voting Rights

Leah Aden, NAACP LDF Assistant Counsel and Former Center Fellow, won an important battle (PDF) for fair elections in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia on Monday. Ms. Aden represents Fayette County, Georgia voters in their effort to secure fair district-based voting as the voting method for the upcoming special election. Ms. Aden argued the County should be prevented from using the at-large method of voting during the upcoming special election because it will impermissibly dilute the voting power of Black voters in Fayette in violation of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which celebrates its 50th Anniversary of being signed into law on August 6.


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Posted by Jennifer Watson Marsh on Wed. August 5, 2015 10:24 AM
Categories: Next Generation Series, Race Discrimination, Voting Rights

Appeals Court Releases Pitt County Schools from Federal Desegregation Orders

In a disappointing 2-1 decision (PDF), the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the 2013 ruling of the U.S. District Court declaring that Pitt County Schools had fully complied with historic desegregation orders and releasing the district from federal court oversight.


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Posted by Jennifer Watson Marsh on Thu. June 4, 2015 2:25 PM
Categories: Education, Pitt County, Race Discrimination

Center Files Amicus Briefs in NC School Voucher Case

The UNC Center for Civil Rights (the Center) represents the North Carolina NAACP as amicus to the NC Supreme Court on State defendants’ appeal of a 2014 order finding NC’s voucher program unconstitutional. Over 70 school districts, as well as the NC School Boards Association, filed suit in 2013 to challenge the program, while taxpayers and parents filed a separate action. Oral argument at NC’s highest court took place on February 24, 2015, and a decision is pending. Read the 2014 (PDF) and 2015 (PDF) amicus briefs.


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Posted by Jennifer Watson Marsh on Fri. March 6, 2015 3:25 PM
Categories: Amicus Curiae, Education, Segregation

Concerned Citizens of Duplin County Files Civil Rights Complaint with the US Department of Education over School Facilities Plan

On December 24, 2014, the Concerned Citizens of Duplin County (CCDC), a community-based organization focused on educational equity, diversity, and opportunity for children in Duplin County Schools (DCS), represented by the UNC Center for Civil Rights, filed a complaint (PDF) with the U.S. Department of Education under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The complaint states that the facilities plan adopted by the Duplin County Board of Education “will have a discriminatory impact on non-white DCS students, who will continue to be denied access to quality facilities, and who will be increasingly and disproportionately concentrated in racially segregated schools.” The complaint asks the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights to investigate the claim and to stop the implementation of the proposed facilities plan.


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Posted by Jennifer Watson Marsh on Thu. January 22, 2015 11:05 AM
Categories: Education, Race Discrimination, Segregation

UNC Center for Civil Rights to Host National Election Protection Hotline

Election Protection Hotline

UNC School of Law students, with other community volunteers, are staffing a toll-free, non-partisan hotline to answer voter questions on Election Day, Tuesday, November 4, as part of Election Protection, a national voter advocacy effort. Voters can call 1.866.OUR.VOTE (866.687.8683) or 1.888.VE.Y.VOTA (888.839.8682) with questions about their rights and the voting process. The hotline is open now for early voting, and will remain active through the closing of the polls on Election Day.

This November is the first major election after the passage of North Carolina House Bill 589, which significantly changed the voting laws in North Carolina. The Election Protection Hotline will provide resources to support voters at the polling place. Voters can call the Hotline to report any problems they encounter or witness at the polls, verify their registration status, or find their polling location.


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Posted by Jennifer Watson Marsh on Wed. October 29, 2014 11:55 AM
Categories: Law Students, Pro Bono, Voting Rights
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