Black Legal Network
The Black Legal Network is a loosely held network of individual attorneys looking for pro bono project opportunities around redistricting and election protection work. The Black Legal Network is an initiative of the North Carolina Black Alliance (NCBA). NCBA understands that Black lawyers have always played a critical role in ensuring Voter Rights Protection, and black attorneys have always been influential in bringing institutional power to community movements. Through the practice of a race-conscious model of lawyering, Black lawyers serve unique functions in contemporary American democracy by bringing their racial identity to their work. By rejecting an exclusively “bleached out” or colorblind professional identity, the Black lawyer’s democratic functions become evident.
Advancing Black Political Power
Many black communities feel marginalized from local decision-making processes and therefore excluded from democracy. They feel ignored and unheard when they do voice their concerns in the public forum. Black lawyers can help advance citizen participation and political power by:
Black lawyers can increase participation by black citizens in city council meetings and local county meetings.
Black lawyers’ dual membership in both the legal profession and the black community creates opportunities for Black lawyers to leverage their status as lawyers to benefit both individuals and institutions in the Black community
Black lawyers can advocate for policies that advance the interests of the Black communities and often can give voice to the experiences of those who are less economically advantaged.
Equity in Redistricting
The Black Legal Network will use institutional power to lift community concerns in the redistricting by ensuring equity in the redistricting process. We believe that redistricting at the local level is extremely importing in building the political power of black communities. Also, access to democracy at the local level is important to the everyday lives of citizens.
The NC Black Alliance’s CODE RED Redistricting initiative is a redistricting education program that offers training and resources to help the black community understand and monitor the redistricting process and become more effective advocates for fair maps. We will connect communities with Movement/Community Lawyers to help amplify voices at local redistricting hearings. Lawyers can further educate community members on the logistics of redistricting and the fair map process.
3 Ways to Support Communities of Color
Commit to supporting one of our targeted counties by connecting with community residents who are organized around redistricting and showing up at these hearings
Attend a local public hearings that may be in-person or virtually, and take notes regarding any procedural mistakes as defined by Robert’s Rules of Order.
Write public comments on behalf of residents. Public Comments will help create the record for any future litigation.
Join the Fight
We need attorneys to join the fight to maintain fair redistricting maps in North Carolina. If interested, please sign up below. After signing up you will receive the scheduled dates and times for our upcoming sessions.
Black Legal Network: The Importance of Movement and Community Lawyering in Redistricting
Check out these tips on making public comments and view sample public comment letters.
Way to Represent: The Role of Black Lawyers in Contemporary American Democracy