Who We Are

About Anita

Anita Earls has worked passionately for 30 years protecting civil rights, voting rights, fighting for families, and advocating for fair political processes:

  • Founder and Executive Director, Southern Coalition for Social Justice (Durham, NC; 2007-2017)
  • Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Justice in the Clinton administration (Washington, D.C.; 1998-2000)
  • Director, Voting Rights Project, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (Washington, D.C.; 2000-2003)
  • Civil rights attorney at North Carolina’s first integrated law firm, Ferguson, Stein, Wallas, Adkins, Gresham & Sumter (Charlotte, NC; 1988-1998)

A Yale Law School grad, Anita’s long civil rights litigation career is crowned by two recent important wins for all North Carolinians:

  • Covington v. North Carolina, in which the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously affirmed that the state’s legislative district maps were unconstitutional racial gerrymanders, and a lower court ordered those districts redrawn by a nonpartisan Special Master
  • League of Women Voters v. Rucho, in which a three judge federal panel ruled that the state’s U.S. congressional district maps are unconstitutional partisan gerrymanders. The case is currently under appeal.

Anita’s lifetime of achievement defending North Carolinians’ rights has been widely honored:

  • NAACP’s Civil Rights Champion award (2011)
  • Emily’s List We Are Emily honoree (2017)
  • NC Justice Center’s Defenders of Justice award (2017)

A proud mother, grandmother, and educator, Anita has taught at the University of Maryland and the University of North Carolina law schools, and in the African and African-American Studies Department at Duke University. Currently she teaches attorneys in the Shriver Center’s Racial Justice Training Institute.

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