As the daughter of a nurse and a medical technician, Anita grew up at a time when their mixed-race marriage was illegal in many states. Her parents worked hard to build a family together despite the odds against them. They taught her the values of hard-work and courage in the face of adversity.
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Civil rights, Fighting for Communities, & Advocating Fair Political Processes
Anita Earls has worked passionately for 30 years protecting civil rights, fighting for families, and advocating for fair political processes. Earls founded the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, a North Carolina based civil rights nonprofit that partners with communities of color and economically disadvantaged communities in the South to defend and advance their political, social, and economic rights. Most recently, Earls is known for her leadership in litigating successful challenges to North Carolina’s “Monster” voter suppression law and unfair redistricting plans.
Arguing a motion in the Wake County Superior Court in the voter ID case
In 1998, Anita was appointed by President Clinton to serve as a Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, with responsibility for the voting, education, disability rights, and federal coordination and compliance sections. From 2000 to 2003, she directed the Voting Rights Project at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. For the first ten years of her career, Anita was in private practice, litigating voting rights, police misconduct, school desegregation, and employment discrimination cases with what was then the Ferguson, Stein, Watt, Wallas, Adkins & Gresham law firm.
Two of my former law partners and I
Anita has taught as an adjunct professor 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 is teaching attorneys in the Shriver Center’s Racial Justice Training Institute. In 2011 Anita received the national NAACP’s Civil Rights Champion Award. In 2017 she received a “Defenders of Justice” award from the North Carolina Justice Center and was recognized as a “We Are Emily” honoree by Emily’s List.