SCSJ Digest
The Monthly Newsletter of SCSJ's Top News

Welcome to SCSJ Digest, the monthly newsletter of the Southern Coalition for Social Justice! At the beginning of every month, we'll send you a roundup of the top stories from the previous month, along with relevant updates, e.g., key resources, upcoming events, and noteworthy projects. If you have any recommendations on additional topics you want to read about, please let us know. We hope you enjoy this newsletter!


Letter from the Executive Directors


Partner Profile

Student Showcase

Events in March

Top Stories in February 2021

Letter from the Executive Directors
From Allison Riggs and Ryan Roberson

In the March issue, we are discussing all things redistricting! Redistricting is the process used by governments to redraw political district boundaries. It applies to all levels of government where district elections are held, including U.S. House of Representatives, state legislatures, city councils, school boards, county boards, and more. Redistricting occurs every 10 years following the Census, and it's important because it influences who runs for office and who is elected which, in turn, affects priority areas and where funding will be allocated. This will be the first redistricting cycle that no longer offers the protections of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, which required states with a history of racial discrimination to prove that their electoral maps weren't drawn to dilute the voting power of people of color.

Since last year, we have been educating community organizers on the redistricting process and potential voting rights violations following the 2020 Census. This year, our Community Redistricting Organizations Working for Democracy (CROWD) Academies are again underway, and we've been honored to partner with several grassroots organizations in Texas, Alabama, and Louisiana in February to host the training for their organizers and activists. In March, April, and May, we will be partnering with additional organizations in Mississippi, Texas, South Carolina, and Louisiana.

While the Census data won't be released until later this fall, we have spent numerous months preparing for this cycle. We encourage you to get involved and learn as much as you can about the process. Because redistricting has historically been used to exclude communities from political power, by fully participating and monitoring the upcoming redistricting process, underrepresented communities, such as African Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans, and Native Americans will have the opportunity to elect candidates of their choice and voice their needs and interests.

In Solidarity,

Allison Riggs and Ryan Roberson

Co-Interim Executive Directors

Key resources, noteworthy projects, etc.

#LiberateToEducate Video

The Youth Justice Project, in partnership with Durham Beyond Policing, demands that Durham Public Schools #LiberateToEducate. We want the immediate end to the school-to-prison pipeline by removing police officers and ending exclusionary discipline and academic tracking.

Black and Latinx students deserve liberated schools with culturally relevant curriculum, mental health spaces, and LGBTQIA+ affirming safe spaces at every school. Watch our Youth Justice Project explain the need to liberate Durham Public Schools.

Join our movement and learn how to get involved:

Partner Profile
Monthly feature of our partners' work

Education Justice Alliance

The Education Justice Alliance (EJA) is comprised of parents, students, and community-based organizations in Wake County, NC working for a reduction in the number of public school students pushed off the academic track through unfair suspensions, harsh discipline policies, and academic failure. EJA is a nonpartisan grassroots group that participates in community organizing, leadership development, and civic engagement efforts.

Along with our Youth Justice Project, the ACLU of North Carolina, and Wake County Black Student Coalition, EJA has been an instrumental partner in the Counselors Not Cops campaign. Through the campaign, students, parents, and community members are united in the call to remove all school resource officers (SROs) from Wake County Public School System (WCPSS) schools. Instead of policing students, WCPSS must fully implement a Peacebuilder Program that employs community "Peacebuilders" in every school to build positive relationships with students, implement restorative practices, and peacefully address interpersonal conflicts. EJA has been calling for the removal of SROs in Wake County schools since at least 2017 and asking for the Peacebuilder Program for the past couple of years. In the past, EJA has gathered parents and students to speak out and up for this campaign.

Student Showcase
Resources created by SCSJ's student volunteers and interns

Our NC State University student and Creative Intern, Sarah Curry, has created three stunning images in honor of Black History Month that we were proud to showcase on our social media platforms. Take a look at her work below!

Events in March
Follow us on social media to stay up to date and register!

Tuesday, 3/2 - Thursday, 3/4: Mississippi CROWD Academy

State Partner: Southern Echo

Wednesday, 3/10 - Friday, 3/12: Texas CROWD Academy

State Partner: Fairmaps Texas Coalition

Wednesday, 3/17 - Friday, 3/19: South Carolina CROWD Academy #1

State Partners: SC Appleseed Legal Center & SC Counts

Friday, 3/19 - Sunday, 3/21: South Carolina CROWD Academy #2

State Partners: SC Appleseed Legal Center & SC Counts

Monday, 3/29 - Wednesday, 3/31: South Carolina CROWD Academy #3

State Partners: SC Appleseed Legal Center & SC Counts

Top Stories in February 2021

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5 Articles
infonews - News Magazine - Latest Posts
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The Gerrymander Battles Loom, as G.O.P. Looks to Press Its Advantage

Published Feb 1, 2021 by admin

WASHINGTON — With the election over and Democrats in control of the White House and both chambers of Congress, officials in both parties are bracing for a bruising new battle with a different balance of power.

Southern Coalition for Social Justice
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SCSJ’s CROWD Academies Return in Time for Critical Post-2020 Census Redistricting Process

Published Feb 8, 2021 by Tazeen Dhanani

Durham, N.C. — Continuing its efforts launched last year, the Southern Coalition for Social Justice (SCSJ) will partner with community organizations to offer in-depth training sessions to educate community organizers on the redistricting process and advocating for fair maps for communities of color in 2021-2022 redistricting efforts.

Southern Coalition for Social Justice
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Remove Confederate Symbols Where Justice Is Sought

Published Feb 15, 2021 by Staff

Southern Coalition for Social Justice hereby endorses the resolution originated by NC CRED that calls for the removal of Confederate monuments from courthouses and judiciary-operated facilities.

News Break
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Dismantling the School-to-Prison Pipeline: A Town Hall Hosted by the Youth Justice Project and the People’s Alliance | News Break

Published Feb 15, 2021 by News Break App

Durham, NC – The Youth Justice Project of the Southern Coalition for Social Justice is partnering with People’s Alliance to host a virtual town hall meeting on the school-to-prison pipeline in Durham Public Schools (DPS) on Wednesday, Feb. 24, at 6 p.m.

Talking Points Memo
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Meet The Voting Rights Heavy-Hitters That Biden Has Picked To Lead DOJ

Published Feb 25, 2021 by Matt Shuham

All three advocates have been selected for key DOJ positions from which they can revitalize the department's role in the voting rights space at a time when the threats to democratic participation are historically daunting.

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