By Jason Thomas
The North Carolina Justice Center announced the appointment of Reginald T. Shuford as its next executive director.
Shuford is from Wilmington, N.C., and is a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill School of Law, according to a news release from the Justice Center. Since 2011, he has been the Executive Director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania.
“For 25 years, the NC Justice Center has served the people of North Carolina in an effort to improve the lives of its most vulnerable citizens,” said the Honorable Patricia Timmons-Goodson, co-chair of the NC Justice Center’s board of directors, in the release. “North Carolina is a better place to live because of our work. We are confident that the NC Justice Center’s next chapter under the leadership of Reggie Shuford will further strengthen our state.”
Under Shuford’s leadership from 2011 to 2022, the ACLU of Pennsylvania doubled its membership; more than doubled the size of its staff, with an emphasis on diversity and inclusion; and increased its annual budget from under $2 million to $6.6 million, according to the release.
During a tumultuous time in the state’s politics, the ACLU of Pennsylvania successfully litigated lawsuits to defeat a restrictive voter identification law in 2012 and to overturn the state’s Defense of Marriage Act in 2014, one year before the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on marriage equality. The organization also advocated and won in struggles to narrow the scope of the criminal legal system. The ACLU of PA beat back efforts to expand mandatory minimum sentencing, advocated for policies that led the state’s prison system to decrease its population by 20%, and laid the groundwork that led to a gubernatorial moratorium on executions that started in 2015 and still stands today.
From 1995-2010, Shuford also served as senior staff counsel in the national ACLU’s racial justice program, the release stated.
“Since I left North Carolina in 1995, I have been privileged to do work at the national and state level advancing racial and social justice, including helping to pioneer racial profiling litigation, representing men assumed to be Arab or Muslim and denied passage on airlines in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, defeating voter ID legislation, and securing marriage equality in Pennsylvania well before it became the law of the land,” said Shuford in the release. “In the past few years, especially, I have felt compelled to return home to help fight for the full inclusion, equal opportunity, and first-class citizenship of all North Carolinians. I am honored to be joining the NC Justice Center, one of the state’s preeminent advocacy organizations, to do the vital work necessary to make that vision a reality.”
The Philadelphia Bar Association also honored him with the Justice Sonia Sotomayor Diversity Award and the Bar Star Award. Shuford has received UNC Law School’s Distinguished Alumnus Award and has served as a Harvard Law School Wasserstein Public Interest Fellow and an Atlantic Fellow for Racial Equity.
“With more than 25 years of work in social justice advocacy, Shuford has the experience, vision, and commitment to service necessary to be an excellent leader of the NC Justice Center’s important efforts toward economic security and equity,” said Timmons-Goodson.
The North Carolina Justice Center Board of Directors has appointed long-time NC Justice Center General Counsel and Senior Advisor Bill Rowe as the interim executive director, effective Jan. 1 through Feb. 12, 2023. Shuford’s appointment at the NC Justice Center will begin on Feb. 13, 2023.
Shuford’s appointment follows a nationwide search chaired by NC Justice Center board member the Honorable Leslie J. Winner and led by Isaacson, Miller.