February 23, 2021 BLACK HISTORY MONTH

Racial Disparities and Criminal Justice: A Conversation with Cheri Beasley and Ted Shaw

The evidence of differential treatment in the criminal justice system is overwhelming. According to the NAACP, Black and Hispanic individuals make up 32% of the population, but 56% those incarcerated. If Black and Hispanic individuals were incarcerated at the same rates as white individuals, prison and jail populations would decline by almost 40%. The problems that lead to these disparities are historically-rooted, systemic and ongoing.

This discussion of racial disparities and the criminal justice system features former North Carolina Chief Justice Cheri Beasley and former Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund Ted Shaw. They address the progress, backlashes, and personal cost of working to acknowledge and address discrimination in criminal justice, as well as guidance for future reform efforts.

Thank you to Melanie Bates Consulting, LLC for their generosity in allowing this program celebrating Black History Month to be possible.


  • Cheri Beasley, Partner, McGuireWoods; Former Chief Justice, North Carolina Supreme Court

  • Ted Shaw, Julius L. Chambers Distinguished Professor of Law and Director of the Center for Civil Rights, University of North Carolina School of Law


  • Malia Brink, Counsel for Indigent Defense, ABA Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defense

Co-Sponsors: ABA Center for Human Rights, ABA Center for Public Interest Law, ABA Commission on Hispanic Legal Rights & Responsibilities, ABA Commission on Homelessness & Poverty, ABA Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, ABA Death Penalty Representation Project, ABA Diversity and Inclusion Center, ABA Law Student Division, ABA Section of State and Local Government Law, ABA Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section, ABA Young Lawyers Division


Transcript: Racial Disparities and Criminal Justice: A Conversation with Cheri Beasley and Ted Shaw

State Supreme Court Diversity — February 2020 Update

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