SCSJ Digest
The Monthly Newsletter of SCSJ's Top News

Welcome to the inaugural 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, let us know. We hope you enjoy this newsletter!


Letter from the Executive Directors


Events in October

Top Stories in September 2020

Letter from the Executive Directors
From Allison Riggs and Ryan Roberson

In these unprecedented times, even the most steadfast and resolute social justice warriors can lose hope. This year has taught us that our nation is feeling more divided than ever, as illustrated by the senseless killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and countless others; subsequent riots and calls for police reform or defunding-the-police movements throughout the country; one of the most contentious and polarized election years in recent memory; the loss of iconic civil rights leaders and activists, including John Lewis, Rev. C.T. Vivian, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg; and a global pandemic that has upended our lives and led to the deaths of more than 200,000 Americans. Any one of these events is enough to cause despair; the convergence of them is enough to shatter the spirit.

However, in the bleakest moments and the darkest times, we must remember the reasons why we do the work that we do. We fight for the rights of those who are oppressed, whose political, social, and economic rights are impeded, neglected, or simply denied. And we cannot lose hope. We work hard, both with and for our clients, and both in and out of the courtroom, to activate communities and amplify their voices when injustices occur.

Now is a time for communities to come together and unite in solidarity. Now is the time to strengthen the will and determination to continue advancing toward equality and justice, despite any hurdles we encounter along the way. In the words of the notorious RBG, “Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.” Though the future is uncertain, we will not give up, and we invite you to join us in the fight for a more equal, more just, and fairer society.

In Solidarity,

Allison Riggs and Ryan Roberson

Co-Interim Executive Directors

Key resources, noteworthy projects, etc.

Call for Fellows

SCSJ is pleased to partner with the American Council of Learned Societies to be selected as one of 11 nonprofits across the U.S. that will host a paid fellow for one year! The fellowships provide support for placing talented, entrepreneurial recent PhDs in religious studies, theology, ethics, and related fields in organizations around the country, to help communities respond to issues caused by the COVID-19 crisis and advance public understanding of the pandemic. This initiative is made possible through the support of the Henry Luce Foundation.

Learn more about the fellowship and apply. Applications will be accepted until Monday, November 2, 2020, 9 pm EST.

#MakeAVotingPlan Digital Hub

SCSJ recently launched a one-stop digital hub to provide North Carolinians with all of the information they'll need to vote, from checking to see if they’re registered to vote to learning about the different ways to vote – especially in the midst of a pandemic. Accompanying the NC state-specific webpage is a separate webpage for national resources, including state election information.

We will be adding more resources to these pages over the coming weeks, so please be sure to bookmark and visit them regularly! Share these resources with your family, friends and networks, and encourage them to #MakeAVotingPlan.

Make A Voting Plan


SCSJ also recently launched #MyVoteMyVoice, a campaign to uplift and amplify the voices of voters, especially of young people, in the voting process through short and compelling videos. Sponsored by the Ottinger Foundation and Solidaire Network members – and with support from the Young Black Lawyers’ Organizing Coalition (YBLOC) and the Black Voters Matter Fund (BVMF) – these videos highlight the diverse range of voices from people all over the nation. 

title card_voting_videos


SCSJ's Youth Justice Project partnered with the Wake County Black Student Coalition (WCBSC), the Education Justice Alliance (EJA), and the ACLU of North Carolina to demand #CounselorsNotCops. This campaign details the need for police-free schools in Wake County so all Black and Brown students can thrive in a loving environment free from police targeting and criminalization.

Counselors Not Cops_Social Graphics-01 FINAL 9.15.20
Events in October
Follow us on social media to stay up to date and register!

Saturday, 10/3 - Pancakes and Politics: Voter Suppression

Featuring: Mitchell Brown

Thursday, 10/8 - Racism and Redistricting: How Unfair Maps Impact Communities of Color

Featuring: Allison Riggs

Tuesday, 10/13 - Equal Justice Works Scales of Justice Dinner

Featuring: Mitchell Brown

Tuesday, 10/20 - Color of Education Virtual Summit 2020

Featuring: Tyler Whittenberg

Thursday, 10/22 or Friday, 10/23 - Equal Justice Works Conference - Voter Suppression Panel

Featuring: Mitchell Brown

Friday, 10/30 - Wake Forest University Law Symposium

Featuring: Allison Riggs

Top Stories in September 2020

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7 Articles
The News & Observer
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Here’s why some groups want to replace cops with counselors in Wake schools

Published Sep 1, 2020

A coalition of Wake County students and activist groups want to replace police officers in schools with counselors. The Wake County Black Student Coalition, the Education Justice Alliance, the Youth J…
ABC Action News
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Voters: Start your balloting! Ballots in North Carolina get mailed out Friday

Published Sep 3, 2020 by Joe St. George - National Political Editor

If you thought the presidential candidates had plenty of time to convince voters, think again. The swing state of North Carolina is set to start mailing out absentee ballots on Friday, September 4. Th…
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The most common problem on mail-in ballots? The witness section

Published Sep 15, 2020 by Travis Fain

By , WRAL statehouse reporter Nearly 47,000 people have already mailed in their ballot in North Carolina, and local officials are finding problems with a little more than 3 percent of them. The bigges…
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Open Letter Condemning the Arrest of Legal Observers on August 28, 2020

Published Sep 18, 2020 by Web Manager

The undersigned organizations unequivocally condemn the targeted arrest of two trained legal observers witnessing the enforcement of a city curfew on the night of August 28, 2020. We call on local lea…
NC Policy Watch
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Voting rights attorney Hilary Harris Klein of the Southern Coalition for Social Justice discusses having a voting plan this election season

Published Sep 21, 2020 by Clayton Henkel

Voting rights attorney Hilary Harris Klein of the Southern Coalition for Social Justice discusses practical tips for North Carolinians looking to make sure their votes get counted. The post Voting rig…
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Special Report: Will your mail ballot count in the U.S. presidential election? It may depend on who's counting and where - Reuters

Published Sep 25, 2020 by Julia Harte

Two elderly women in small towns in Wisconsin voted by mail during April’s presidential nominating contests. Both were sheltering in place as coronavirus surged across their state. FILE PHOTO: Eliza L…
The Hill
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Black North Carolina voters' mail-in ballots rejected at twice the rate as White voters: report

Published Sep 25, 2020 by Kaelan Deese

Black North Carolina voters are seeing their ballots rejected at twice the rate of white residents in North Carolina, a study by a University of Florida (UF) elections expert reported. Black voters in…
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