RALEIGH (September 13, 2021) –  Every year the NC Justice Center celebrates the inspirational work of outstanding leaders in our community who are leading the fight for justice at our annual Defenders of Justice Awards. These few exemplify our mission — they are working to eliminate poverty in North Carolina and advance progressive and inclusive policies that advance equity and opportunity.

The 2021 Defenders of Justice honorees are:


  • Letha Muhammad, Executive Director of the Education Justice Alliance, for her unparalleled leadership and advocacy for equity in public education on behalf of students, parents, and communities across North Carolina


  • The law firm of Robinson Bradshaw, for their decades of extraordinary collaborative and critical pro-bono litigation efforts to protect and expand the rights of North Carolinians with low incomes


  • William A. Darity, Jr., Samuel DuBois Cook Distinguished Professor of Public Policy at Duke University, for his superlative leadership and groundbreaking research in economic justice and racial equity, helping to build a more just North Carolina and nation


  • Jim Barrett, Executive Director of Pisgah Legal Services, for his decades of outstanding leadership at PLS, guiding the organization in serving Western North Carolinians with low incomes, preventing homelessness, and transforming state housing policy

The event will be held in two parts: virtually on Thursday, September 23, and in-person in Durham on Sunday, September 26.