Chief Justice Cheri Beasley convened the inaugural meeting of the North Carolina Faith and Justice Alliance Steering Committee on Friday, June 5. The Alliance is a project of the North Carolina Equal Access to Justice Commission, which is chaired by Chief Justice Beasley.
The Faith and Justice Alliance brings together members of the legal community, faith traditions, and community service providers to help bridge the justice gap for North Carolina’s low-income residents. The Alliance’s steering committee will shepherd important projects aimed at training clergy to identify legal needs, recruiting attorneys to provide pro-bono services, educating the public about common legal issues, and bringing services like expunction and driver’s license restoration clinics directly to communities that need them.
“North Carolinians in crisis frequently turn to local faith communities to receive vital services, but clergy are usually not trained to spot potential legal issues and make referrals to free legal resources,” said Chief Justice Beasley. “I am so excited about this opportunity to bring together these two noble professions to provide direct services to those most in need."
The Steering Committee meeting featured a guest presentation by Justice Cornelia A. Clark of the Supreme Court of Tennessee, who spoke to the group and answered questions about the decade of experience built by the Tennessee Faith and Justice Alliance. She encouraged the group in its work, and congratulated members of the Alliance for pursing justice in the face of challenges brought by the current pandemic.
The group also heard from Steering Committee co-chairs, Dean Jonathan L. Walton, Dean of Wake Forest University School of Divinity, and Julian H. Wright Jr., attorney with Robinson, Bradshaw & Hinson, P.A., about how faith informs justice, and civil legal needs in North Carolina, respectively. Julian encouraged the group “to move forward as people of faith, with a measure of faith” in bringing legal resources to North Carolinians who need them.
About Faith and Justice Alliance
Learn more about the North Carolina Faith and Justice Alliance, join the Alliance, or access this meeting’s materials and / or a recording of the meeting here.