Welcome to the Julius L. Chambers Center for Civil Rights. We are a new non-profit dedicated to providing low-wealth North Carolina communities with sound legal representation in their efforts to dismantle structural racism.
What We Do
The Center uses a unique community-lawyering model to work with North Carolina communities to address the inequities they see every day. Our primary targets are challenging discriminatory policies and practices that block equitable access to:
♦ quality public K-12 schools;
♦ safe and affordable housing and related infrastructure;
♦ political participation and representation;
♦ and environmental justice.
We are working on a number of matters that exemplify these goals, including current litigation over the maintenance of three racially segregated and under-performing school districts in Halifax County (now pending at the NC Supreme Court); the refusal of a predominantly white town to annex and include a historic African American community in Stokes County; and administrative challenges to the adverse impacts of the concentration of industrial hog production facilities in predominantly African American, Native American and Latino communities in southeastern NC.
Chambers Center clients the North Carolina Environmental Justice Network (NCEJN), Rural Empowerment Association for Community Help (REACH), and Waterkeeper Alliance announced today that they reached a settlement agreement with the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) of a 2014 Title VI complaint filed with the Environmental Protection Agency. The complaint alleged that DEQ allowed industrial swine facilities to operate with “grossly inadequate and outdated systems of controlling animal waste” resulting in an “unjustified disproportionate impact on the basis of race and national origin against African Americans, Latinos and Native Americans.” Read more
Who We Are
Mark Dorosin was the Managing Attorney at the UNC Center for Civil Rights, where he has worked since 2008, during which time he created the Inclusion Project, which grew out of our clients’ common struggles against impacts of the legacy of residential racial segregation.
Elizabeth Haddix, Staff Attorney at the UNC Center for Civil Rights since 2010, expanded the focus of our community-based advocacy and led the Center’s innovative environmental justice docket.
“I know my father would be happy to see that his work is continuing and getting stronger than ever, free now from the political influence and control that ended his UNC Center for Civil Rights. The Chambers Center needs your help now, so that it can continue to represent poor and excluded communities in North Carolina and across the region.” – Judy Chambers
Building on the Legacy of Julius Chambers
In 2001, Julius Levonne Chambers, the legendary civil rights lawyer and North Carolina native, founded the UNC Center for Civil Rights at UNC Law School. Through the Center, Mr. Chambers created a unique community-lawyering model to help disempowered communities. For 17 years, his Center brought staff attorneys and students together to challenge the barriers these communities faced. The new Chambers Center will continue that mission of training the next generation of civil rights lawyers.
In September 2017, following a two-year series of attacks on the Center’s legacy, the UNC Board of Governors voted to ban the Center from engaging in advocacy or acting as legal counsel to any third party. Subsequently, the University of North Carolina terminated Haddix and Dorosin and discontinued the critical litigation mission of the Center.
The two attorneys created the Julius Chambers Center for Civil Rights to continue the litigation and advocacy that was so vital to the UNC Center’s success.
We have taken all 14 cases that the Center was already pursuing, and we’re now looking at a new set of potential cases that were put on hold while the Center was under investigation. As an independent organization, we can fulfill the vision that led Julius Chambers to found the UNC Center and work with the excluded communities he sought to serve.
Become Our Partner in the Chambers Center
The need for aggressive, creative, and dedicated civil rights advocacy in North Carolina has never been greater. Your donation to the Chambers Center will allow this work to continue and expand. Now is the most critical time to make your contribution to support our work
For those who wish to donate by check: Pending approval of the Chambers Center’s 501(c)(3) application, checks can be written to “CCSH/Friends of the Center for Civil Rights” and sent to Jim Overton, Center for Community Self-Help, PO BOX 3619, Durham NC 27702