Earls delivers address during Freedom Fund Gala

Associate Justice of the N.C. Supreme Court Anita Earls delivers the keynote address during the local NAACP’s Freedom Fund Gala on Friday, May 17.

Earls delivers address during Freedom Fund Gala
May 23
01:15 2019

Last week the local branch of the “oldest and boldest Civil Rights organization” held its annual Freedom Fund Gala to help support the next generation of freedom fighters and activists. 

Each year the local branch of the NAACP holds the banquet-style event to help local students with the rising cost of education. This year’s recipients were: Damaris Roque-Lira, Anthony Hamilton, Trajan Baker, Aniah McManus, and Kayla Horton. Rev. Alvin Carlisle, president of the Winston-Salem NAACP, said, “Through your generous support, tonight we’ll be able to support the next generation of freedom fighters and activists, the best and brightest that Forsyth County has to offer. 

“The scholarships awarded will provide some financial relief in the face of the ever-rising cost of a quality education.”

Other highlights during the event were the presentation of the Charles A. McLean Community Service Award, which was awarded to the late Manderline Scales, and the Joseph T. McMillian Distinguished Service Award, which was presented to the late John Oliver Raymond, DDS. 

A longtime educator and community servant, Dr. Scales worked at Winston-Salem State University for nearly three decades, where she served in multiple roles including director of student affairs and assistant vice chancellor of student affairs and development. Scales, who began her teaching career at Atkins High School, is also credited for starting the Spanish program at WSSU and the local school district. 

In the 1960s, Dr. Oliver worked to integrate various segregated venues across the city including Reynolds Park amusement area and roller rink, K&W Cafeteria, the drive-in movie theater and local bowling alleys. Dr. Oliver is also credited for helping stimulate economic growth in East Winston with his investment in the Jet Way Business Center on New Walkertown Road.

Accepting the award for Scales was her granddaughter, Porsche Jones. Oliver’s sister, Angela Battle, accepted the award on his behalf. Following dinner and the awards presentation, the keynote address was delivered by Associate Justice of the N.C. Supreme Court, Anita Earls.

The founder and past executive director of the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, as an attorney Earls made a name for herself as an advocate for civil rights. Before joining the N.C. Supreme Court, Earls served as deputy assistant attorney general for civil rights at the U.S. Department of Justice under President Bill Clinton. She also served on the Equal Access to Justice Commission and the N.C. Board of Elections.

While sharing her thoughts on the theme for the evening, “Demanding Justice for All,” Earls said the demand for justice is a demand for equity, but oftentimes people mistake or confuse equity and equality. She said in order to reach the goal of “justice for all,” we must first address the role implicit biases plays in our legal system.

Earls said implicit and sometimes explicit biases shape what happens to you in the courtroom and every area of the legal system.

“It impacts every single area of our legal doctrines. Legal scholars have written about implicit bias in the law and how property law, and business corporations law, and taxation law, anti-trust law, and all these areas of law have doctrines that flow from implicit bias,” continued Earls. “And we as a legal system have to address that if we’re going to get anywhere near justice for all.”

Before wrapping up her address, Earls encouraged the crowd of more than 200 in attendance to exercise their right to vote and continue the NAACP’s push for justice.

“The NAACP has always been at the forefront for the demand for justice. I’m reminded of our saying that we have no permanent enemies, no permanent friends, just permanent interest,” she said. “So we need to continue to make demanding justice for all an important part of our continued interest.”

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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