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Press Release

Readout of Attorney General Lynch's Visits to Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

On her first official visit to her home state of North Carolina, Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch traveled today to Durham and Raleigh to attend meetings with civil rights leaders and individuals combatting human trafficking.

In Durham, the Attorney General held a civil rights roundtable meeting with law enforcement, local officials, community leaders, students and faith leaders.  The topics discussed at the roundtable, which was held at the North Carolina Central University the School of Law, included hate crimes, voting rights and community-police relations.

During the roundtable, the Attorney General noted recent events in the South have brought back painful memories of the past for many.

“These are in fact challenging times as we all know,” the Attorney General told those assembled.  “You’ve alluded to the recent events that have traumatized many of our houses of worship.  There have also been events traumatizing many of our individuals of color.  Also, of course, the events just a few weeks ago in Charleston highlight days that I think many of us thought were behind us.”

The Attorney General also noted that the Justice Department continues to investigate the heartbreaking church shooting in Charleston, reiterating that the investigation will explore “all angles, be it hate crime or domestic terrorism.”

She also spoke about the recent spate of church fires in southern states, saying that the department does not yet have all the details but that those incidents “have our full attention.”

“This is a serious issue that we will be addressing with the appropriate care and we will see where those matters lead us,” she said.

The Attorney General also emphasized her commitment to pursuing the justice in the face of hate crimes and civil rights abuses.

“While we cannot guarantee the absence of hate, we can guarantee the presence of justice. We could do that. And I am committed, as Attorney General, to making good on that guarantee,” the Attorney General said.  “And I know that everyone in this room has spent most of their lives working towards living up to that guarantee and I’m so happy to count you as partners in this fight because it’s a fight that will cover all types of issues -- the traditional ones that we’ve seen here as well as the new threats that our newest citizens face, all of the things that make this country great.  Sometimes people are looking to push back on that. But I want you to know that the Department of Justice and this Attorney General is committed to working with you in this fight.” 

While in Raleigh, the Attorney General met with the North Carolina Coalition Against Human Trafficking and lauded their “cooperative and innovative approach,” including their efforts to bring together state and local leaders, law enforcement officials and legal and social service organizations.  She highlighted the importance of having law enforcement team up with direct service agencies and first responders as a way to ensure that traffickers are brought to justice and survivors receive the support they need.

“One of my top priorities as Attorney General is to bring human traffickers to justice, assist trafficking survivors and secure the rights and dignity of anyone unable to do so for themselves,” the Attorney General said.  “But as the people in this room are all too aware, responding to a crime as complex and as devastating as human trafficking is neither easy nor straightforward.  Such crimes must be fought persistently and aggressively, while drawing on ingenuity and collaboration across many disciplines, organizations and professions.”

The Attorney General also praised the work of U.S. Attorney Thomas G. Walker of the Eastern District of North Carolina and U.S. Attorney Ripley Rand of the Middle District of North Carolina, whose offices have had recent successes in holding traffickers accountable.  The Attorney General highlighted the Justice Department’s recent announcement on the success of an interagency Anti-Trafficking Coordination Team Initiative – or ACTeam Initiative – and the expansion of those efforts to other parts of the country.

The Attorney General also met with local officers from the Durham Police Department to thank them for their service and for being on the front lines to advance public safety. The Attorney General also stressed the importance of improving relationships, trust and respect between law enforcement and the communities they serve. 

The Attorney General was joined on her visits in Durham and Raleigh by U.S. Attorney Walker and U.S. Attorney Rand.

Participants in the Durham civil rights roundtable included: 

  • Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch, Office of the Attorney General

  • U.S. Attorney Thomas G. Walker, United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina

  • Mayor William “Bill” Bell, City of Durham

  • U.S. Representative G.K. Butterfield

  • District Liaison Sonia Price, Office of U.S. Representative David Price

  • Professor James Coleman, Duke Law School

  • Chancellor Debra Saunders-White, North Carolina Central University

  • Dean Phyliss Craig Taylor, North Carolina Central University School of Law

  • Professor Irving Joyner, North Carolina Central School of Law

  • President Everett Ward, St. Augustine’s University

  • President-Elect Tashni Dubroy, Shaw University

  • Chief Cassandra Deck-Brown, Raleigh Police Department

  • Chief Jose Lopez, Durham Police Department

  • Chief Chris Blue, Chapel Hill Police

  • Reverend Lorenzo Lynch

  • Reverend Marion Robinson, St. Matthews AME Church

  • Reverend Earl Johnson, President, Raleigh-Wake Citizens Association; Martin Street Baptist Church

  • Reverend Nancy Petty, Pullen Memorial Baptist Church

  • Reverend Paul Anderson, President of Raleigh Ministerial Alliance

  • Reverend William Everett, President of Interdenominational Ministers Alliance of Durham

  • Imam Adeel Zeb, Director of Muslim Life at Duke University

  • Imam Oliver Mohammed, Chaplain at Butner Federal Correctional Complex and As Salaam Islamic Center

  • Zainab Baloch, North Carolina State Muslim Association

  • Hamzu Butler, UNC-Chapel Hill Muslim Association

  • Rabbi Lucy Dinner, Temple Beth Or

  • Rabbi Larry Bach, Judea Reform Congregation

  • Bhupinder Singh, Sihk Gurdwara of North Carolina

  • President William Barber, North Carolina NAACP

  • President Fred Foster, North Carolina NAACP (Durham)

  • President Ralph Hunt Sr., Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People

  • Chris Sgro, Executive Director of Equality NC

  • Helena Cragg, LGBT Center of Durham

  • Civic Engagement Manager Juliana Cabrales, National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials

  • Executive Director Angeline Echevarria, El Pueblo Inc.

  • President Pilar Rocha-Goldberg, El Centro Hispano

  • Janice McKenzie Cole, Cole Immigration Law Center

Updated July 1, 2015

Press Release Number: 15-840