Laura Ashley Powell
Anita Earls, the founder and Executive Director of the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, has been endorsed by Progressive Takeover for her run for a seat on the North Carolina Supreme Court.
Progressive Takeover is, according to their website, a “grassroots-funded progressive organization” that seeks to support Democratic, progressive candidates running in state elections. Democrats and Republicans have a 13:32 ratio when it comes to state control, something that Progressive Takeover wants to change in the 2018 midterm elections.
Before Earls founded the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, she was the Deputy Assistant Attorney General of Civil Rights at the US Department of Justice under the Clinton Administration. Before this, she was a civil rights attorney in North Carolina. She has also been the director of the Voting Right Project in Washington D.C.
“For over 30 years, Earls has advocated tirelessly for progressive ideals,” said the Progressive Takeover in their announcement of endorsement. “She has sought to eliminate the power of special interests in government, fought for racial equality under the law, and exposed malicious gerrymandering.”
Earls is a Yale graduate and has been heavily involved in court cases battling unlawful gerrymandering. She is passionate about having fairly drawn district lines in order to have honest partisan representation. She is also passionate about eradicating discriminatory and restricting voting laws, so every citizen can exercise their right to choose their representatives.
Earls, in an interview with NC Policy Watch, explained her dedication to promoting equal rights after her own brother was murdered. Local authorities would not prosecute the perpetrator, in part because “no jury in that county would convict a white woman of killing a black man.”
Earls was also told the prosecution would not be worth the cost since they were in a rural area. This experience tempted Earls to lose her faith in the US judicial system, but instead it prompted her to fight harder for justice for those who have had their rights violated.
“Anita has spent her career fighting for social justice and civil rights,” said North Carolina State Director Gina Cruz. “Once elected, she’ll continue the fight against voter suppression laws and partisan redistricting.”
Cruz also added that, though voters tend to pay little attention to judicial races as opposed to legislative races, those who wish to elect someone who will protect their rights should vote for candidates like Earls. Cruz claims that they are less likely to cave under the pressure of the North Carolina General Assembly.
Progressive Takeover’s efforts in supporting progressive, democratic candidates seeks to target demographics that are becoming increasingly prevalent in the US electorate, like people of color, single women and millenials. Similarly to Earls, the organization focuses on changing dishonest gerrymandering and strict voter laws.
Progressive Takeover has thus far invested $125,000 in North Carolina to send staff and organizers to reach voters, often collaborating with college student activists or going door to door to spread their message. They tend to focus on the most competitive races in each state.
A main goal for Progressive Takeover is to win back the Democratic, progressive majority in the 2018 and 2020 elections before district lines are changed in 2021.
“North Carolinians deserve an independent court where the rules are the same for everyone, not just for political insiders or those with great wealth and power,” said Earls in her interview with NC Policy Watch. “I am running for one simple reason- so that our judicial system lives up to the basic promise of equal justice under the law to protect the rights of every North Carolinian.”