NC Justice News, Aug 25: Health Care, Consumer Issues, Education, Immigration


August 25, 2009



HEALTH CARE: Join a Rally to Show Your Support for Reform

America is in desperate need of health care reform. We can't wait any longer for a system that:

>>> Guarantees affordable, quality care for every American

>>> Provides real consumer choice

>>> Stops discrimination of all kinds

>>> Puts insurance and drug companies to work for the people

Unfortunately, powerful vested interests are trying to block change. Now is the time for North Carolinians to stand up, to reclaim this critical issue as a moral imperative, and help President Obama and Congress push health care reform across the finish line!

JOIN US on Saturday, August 29 for one of the following rallies:

ASHEVILLE Health Care Can't Wait Rally
Saturday, Aug. 29 from 10 a.m.-12 p.m.
Pritchard Park on Patton Avenue, downtown Asheville
Info: Leslie Boyd, (828) 243-6712.

CHARLOTTE Healthcare Reform Educational Forum
Saturday, Aug. 29, from 3:30 p.m.-6 p.m.
Greater Mount Sinai Baptist Church, 1243 West Blvd.
Info: Gautam Desai at (704) 779-9250 or

GREENVILLE Health Care Can't Wait Rally
Saturday, Aug. 29, from 10 a.m.-11 a.m.
At the corner of Charles Blvd. and Greenville Blvd.
Info: Frank at 252-327-8843

Saturday, Aug. 29, from 10:00–11:30 a.m.
State Capitol Building
Info: Debra Tyler-Horton,
or 919.856.2169, or NC Fair Share: 1-866-302-0031


CONSUMER CHAMPION: Congrats to Our Own Carlene McNulty

Raleigh's News & Observer recently spotlighted Carlene McNulty, the Justice Center's consumer protections attorney, for "going to battle for [her clients] against businesses that she believes have flouted the law to turn a profit." Here's an excerpt:

As a senior consumer protection litigator with the N.C. Justice Center, an anti-poverty group where she has worked since 1996, McNulty has been in the middle of the some of the state's most contentious battles over financial regulations and consumer issues.

She has helped push predatory lenders out of the state, and she fought to make it possible for low-income children to visit dentists near their homes. She has picked apart hundreds of fine-print foreclosure filings with lenders who sought unfair advantage over poor clients....

She mentors younger public interest lawyers and recruits private attorneys to take on cases for free. Her reputation as a tireless defender of working-class and the poor stretches to national circles.

Carlene's amazing work has changed the lives of thousands of people throughout North Carolina, and we, her colleagues at the Justice Center, applaud her.


MORTGAGE SCAMS: Home-Buying Businesses Scrutinized

The NC Department of Justice and state legislators are taking a close look at businesses that claim they buy homes from strapped homeowners. In reality, some of these businesses get the title from a homeowner and agree to make the mortgage payments but leave the loan in the homeowner's name. The business will then rent the home out, in some cases making the mortgage payments and in others not, until it can no longer make money off the home. Then the business abandons the property, and the original homeowner is left holding the bag.

The Justice Center has been hearing from homeowners who were scammed by these businesses. Our advocates have been working with state legislators to create regulations that will curb future abuses.


PUBLIC EDUCATION: Superintendent Leaves Struggling Halifax

Geraldine Middleton, the superintendent of the struggling Halifax County school system, has resigned her position effective September 18 after only two years on the job.

Halifax County Public Schools test scores show that 71.3% of students in grades 3-5 and 74.3% in grades 6-8 are not reading at grade level. The district has come under the scrutiny of Superior Court Judge Howard Manning, who presides over Leandro, the case that determined every student in the state has the constitutional right to a sound, basic education. Judge Manning said the scores are "irrefutable evidence of a complete breakdown in academics" in the Halifax County schools.

In March, Judge Manning held a hearing and called for a state takeover of the district. Since then, state education officials have been working with the school system in a first-of-its-kind intensive effort to boost student achievement. During the hearing, Middleton repeatedly claimed that she was not seeking other employment and assured concerned parents that she would remain in the district.


EDUCATION ADVOCACY: Trainings in Your Community

The Justice Center's Education & Law Project offers parent and community trainings on a variety of public education issues. Each of the workshops can be adapted for a particular student demographic, audience or school district. Issues include testing, funding, personal education plans, students with special needs and school discipline.

If you are interested in arranging a workshop in your community, please contact Beth Jacobs, Coordinator of Advocacy, Outreach and Training, at, 919-861-2064 or 919-971-2329.


IMMIGRATION: Hundreds show opposition to 287(g) program

Following DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano’s expansion of the 287(g) agreements last month, over 500 civil rights, community, and immigrant rights organizations asked the program be immediately terminated. In a letter to President Obama, these organizations which included the NAACP, ACLU, MALDEF, and Anti-Defamation League, cited the civil rights abuses, specifically the racial profiling, endemic to the program.

The horror stories of detained citizens, abandoned children on side roads,paraded immigrants in chains and shackles, and pregnant women forced to give birth while chained to a bed illustrate the urgency for the Obama administration to end the Bush-era policies and pass dignified immigration reform.

In Davidson County, Tennessee, the Sheriff’s Office used its 287(g) power to apprehend undocumented immigrants driving to work, standing at day labor sites, or while fishing off piers. One pregnant woman---charged with driving without a license---was shackled to her bed during labor.

The Justice Initiative is a group of community members that was convened in Hendersonville by the Latino Advocacy Coalition and the Henderson County Human Relations Council. This is a multi-racial effort to hold public agencies accountable for ensuring that immigrants' rights are respected in Henderson County.

The Justice Initiative welcomes the community to monthly silent vigils held to raise awareness about the need for comprehensive immigration reform and the damaging impact that local immigration enforcement efforts have on families. Vigils are held the last Friday of each month from 5:30-6:00 in front of the Historic Courthouse in Hendersonville: 201 North Main Street Hendersonville, NC 28792.





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This week’s topics:

Mental Health struggles continue

More at stake than health care

Welcome to bizarro world

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