Archive (2008-2009)

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April 16, 2009
Immigration Policy in North Carolina:
The 287(g) Program and Local Enforcement of Immigration Law

North Carolina was an early adopter of the 287(g) program, which authorizes state and local law enforcement agents to act as immigration officials--a role traditionally reserved for the federal government. 287(g) has been extolled as a way to catch and deport dangerous criminals, and some public safety groups, politicians and others have advocated for the program's expansion throughout the state and country.

But recent studies suggest that where 287(g) has been implemented, lax oversight, unclear guidelines and mismanagement have led to racial profiling and a climate of apprehension and distrust among immigrant communities. Additionally, the vast majority of immigrants detained by 287(g) are picked up for minor traffic infractions - not the grievous societal threat originally identified by the program.

The 287(g) Immigration Panel discussed immigration policy nationally and in North Carolina, the effects of the 287(g) program and how attempts have been to modify through congressional appropriations.

Panelists were: Paul Cox, Associate Staff for Homeland Security Appropriations, Office of U.S. Rep. David Price; Hannah Gill, Institute for the Study of the Americas, UNC-Chapel Hill; Mai Nguyen, City and Regional Planning, UNC-Chapel Hill; and Deborah Weissman, UNC School of Law.

Video of the event

The event was co-sponsored by the Poverty Center, the UNC Office of Economic and Business Development and the UNC Latina/o Studies Working Group.

Many of the findings reported at the panel are also available in a report issued by the UNC School of Law Immigration/Human Rights Policy Clinic. A team of law students led by Professor Weissman, the director of the clinical programs at the law school, teamed up with Katherine Parker and Rebecca Headen of the ACLU in North Carolina Legal Foundation to research and write this report, The Policies and Politics of Local Immigration Enforcement Law. The report describes program weaknesses, including the reluctance of immigrants to interact with police, increased racial profiling, due process infractions and distraction from other law enforcement responsibilities.

The full report and the report's executive summary are both available as Adobe files.

April 13, 2009
Blood Done Sign My Name

A theatrical adaptation of Tim Tyson's memoir, Blood Done Sign My Name was an electrifying performance by Mike Wiley, accompanied by the amazing gospel singer, Mary Williams.

The memoir and the performance revisit the murder of Henry "Dickie" Marrow, a 23-year-old African-American Army veteran, by three white men in Oxford, North Carolina and its repercussions in both the black and white communities.

A panel consisting of Mike Wiley, Mary Williams and Tim Tyson took audience questions after the show.

April 9, 2009
Poverty and the Recession in North Carolina:
Challenges and Opportunities

The Poverty Center's annual conference convened state and national experts to examine domestic poverty in light of the current economic crisis. The Hon. Joe Hackney, Speaker of the N.C. House of Representatives and President of the National Conference of State Legislatures delivered the keynote address, providing insight into the political process behind the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and setting the stage for the panel to follow.

Panel One looked at the current picture of national poverty: its geography, its rural manifestations, its impact on racial and ethnic minorities in particular and how the recession--and responses to it--are operating on the ground. Speakers wereAlan Berube (Brookings Institution); Cynthia "Mil" Duncan (Carsey Institute, University of New Hampshire); Margaret C. Simms (Urban Institute); and Karl Stauber (Danville Regional Foundation). The panel was moderated by Deborah Weissman (UNC School of Law).

A powerful lunchtime address on bankruptcy and foreclosure reform was delivered was delivered by the The Hon. Brad Miller, US Representative for the 13th District of North Carolina.

Panel Two switched the focus to North Carolina and the impact of the recession here. Speakers were Yolanda Burwell (NC Rural Economic Development Center); Chris Estes (NC Housing Coalition); Chris Fitzsimon (NC Policy Watch); George Hausen (Legal Aid of North Carolina); Mark McDaniel (UNC Center for Community Capital); and Alexandra Sirota (Action for Children NC). The panel was moderated by Ferrel Guillory (UNC Program on Public Life).

Panel Three examined solutions to the crisis. Speakers were Andrea Bazan (Triangle Community Foundation); David Dodson (MDC, Inc.); James H. Johnson Jr. (UNC Urban Investment Strategies Center); Adam Searing (Health Access Coalition, NC Justice Center); Eric Stein (Self-Help/Center for Responsible Lending). The panel was moderated by Gene Nichol (UNC School of Law and Director, UNC Poverty Center).

March 30 through April 3, 2009
Poverty Awareness Week

April 2, 2009 - Change Comes Knocking

Change Comes Knocking, a vibrant documentary about the NC Fund, captures the promise and upheaval of 1960s in North Carolina's battle against poverty and injustice.

The screening was followed by a panel and an audience question and answer session.

Panelists were:

  • Howard Fuller, NC Fund organizer (see below for more info)
  • Ann Atwater, community organizer from Durham; featured in An Unlikely Friendship
  • Thomas Lambeth, administrative assistant to Gov. Sanford; former Executive Director, Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation; Chair, NC Rural Economic Development Center
  • Rebecca Cerese, filmmaker

(Photo courtesy of Billy Barnes)

April 3, 2009 - Howard Fuller, Keynote Address

Howard Fuller has courted controversy at every turn. Nationally recognized educational advocate for black children, proponent of charter schools and private school voucher programs and trailblazing community organizer, Fuller has been a compelling - and polarizing - figure throughout his career.

Fuller delivered the keynote address for Poverty Awareness Week on April 3 at the Hanes Art Center. His talk discussed grassroots organizing strategies past and present and the continuing need to fight for social justice.

Listen to a 1996 speech by Howard Fuller on community activism. (Audio file from the Southern Oral History Program at UNC's Southern Historical Collection.)

March 12, 2009
Michael Sherraden

Michael Sherraden, acclaimed public policy innovator and creator of Individual Development Accounts (IDAs), spoke at the UNC School of Social Work's Tate-Turner-Kuralt Building
Auditorium on March 12 at 11 a.m.

Sherraden has served as an adviser and consultant to the White House, Department of Treasury, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Department of Health and Human Services, Carnegie Council and many other organizations. His work on assets has influenced policy development in the United Kingdom, Taiwan, Canada and other countries.

Co-sponsored by the UNC School of Social Work, the Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity and the UNC Center for Community Capital.

February 9, 2009
Lawrence Mishel

Lawrence Mishel of the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) delivered a clear and impassioned lecture on the state of the American economy. In "The Squeeze Behind Us, the Pain Ahead and How to Reach Shared Prosperity," he discussed how we got into this economic pickle, the projected depths to which we might sink and possible solutions to soften the blow and encourage a recovery.

Mishel's presentation can be viewed for free on the UNC Law page of iTunes U.

As EPI's first research director and now president, Lawrence Mishel has played a significant role in building EPI's research capabilities and reputation. He has researched, written, and spoken widely on the economy and economic policy as it affects middle- and low-income families. He is principal author of a major research volume, The State of Working America (published every even-numbered year since 1988), which provides a comprehensive overview of the U.S. labor market and living standards.

A nationally recognized economist, Mishel is frequently called on to testify and provide economic briefings to members of Congress and appears regularly as a commentator on the economy in print and broadcast media.

Sept. 22, 2008
North Carolina's Invisible Poor
Who Are They and What Can We Do to Help?

Heather Hunt, assistant director of the Poverty Center, and Hazel Mack-Hilliard, senior managing attorney, Legal Aid of NC, discussed poverty and legal services in North Carolina. The event was co-sponsored by the UNC School of Law Office of Public Service Programs and the Career Development Office.

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