Author Archives: Jennifer

About Jennifer

Jennifer Wyatt, the Executive Director of R2JNC and a North Carolina lawyer.

The North Carolina Cooperative Extension

One of the greatest resources for all who live in North Carolina is the Cooperative Extension. Located in each of the 100 counties as well as with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, the statewide partnerships works with public universities. They provide education in five areas: sustaining agriculture and forestry, protecting the environment, maintaining viable communities, developing responsible youth, and developing strong, healthy, and safe families. Roads to Justice works with offices around North Carolina to take advantage of networks and knowledge in the rural community.

ncce-100-logo-288pxThe Cooperative Extension was borne out of the Morrill Acts of 1862, one of the most important acts in American History for higher education. Recognizing the need for educated, practical decision-making, these laws gave federal land to the states to “land grant” colleges. Many of these universities make up our nation’s most prestigious public schools. North Carolina State University was established from these Acts. North Carolina A&T State University came out of later related acts from 1890. These schools focus on agriculture, science, and engineering.

Similarly, we at Roads to Justice provide education required for practical decision-making. Women in rural North Carolina make decisions for their families everyday. It’s important that they understand the legal implications of their decisions so that future problems are avoided. Education is fundamental to our success as individuals, families, and communities.

As always, your support of our mission is welcome! Please consider donating to Roads to Justice North Carolina so that we can continue providing much needed learning opportunities to families.



The North Carolina Tradition of Caring

colonial mapThe roots of North Carolina helping the poor go deep into history, all the way to the English Poor Laws when we were still an English colony. The Colonial Assembly charged the vestry of each parish to levy a tax for what was then referred to as “poor relief”. Dependent children were placed with families and learned a trade as an apprentice. It was simply a natural aspect of civilized life to care for the less fortunate.

The North Carolina Constitution of 1776 did not include any responsibility for the poor, but those responsibilities previously held by the local vestrymen were assumed by the elected overseers. In 1793 and 1831, the legislature authorized the building of almshouses with the use of county tax funds.

After the Civil War a new state constitution was drafted. The North Carolina Constitution of 1868 explicitly included a role for state government. Article XI Section 7 reads as follows:

“Beneficent provision for the poor, the unfortunate and orphan, being one of the first duties of a civilized and christian state, the General Assembly, shall at its first session, appoint and define the duties of a Board of Public Charities, to whom shall be entrusted the Supervision of all charitable and penal State institutions, and who shall annually report to the governor upon their condition, with suggestions for their improvement.”

In 1971, North Carolinians decided it was time for a new constitution and did not mince words regarding the importance of caring for the poor. Article 11 Section 4 continued the North Carolina tradition for caring for the poor. “Beneficent provision for the poor, the unfortunate, and the orphan is one of the first duties of a civilized and Christian state. Therefore the General Assembly shall provide for and define the duties of a board of public welfare.”

North Carolinians should be justly proud of their long history of concern for those suffering through hard times. Tar Heels are a thoughtful, practical people, and recognize that everyone needs help now and then. Those of us who can help, must. At Roads to Justice we seek to further that tradition well into the 21st century, making use of modern technology as well as good old-fashioned conversation.

In other upcoming post, we will discuss North Carolina’s dedication to education- also enshrined in the state’s most noble document- the Constitution!

Want to read more about North Carolina Constitutional History? Follow this link! And here is the link to our current Constitution. Enjoy!



Bayboro, NC in Pamlico County

Pamlico County Courthouse, Bayboro NC

Pamlico County Courthouse, Bayboro NC

We visited Bayboro, NC. Although the population is less than 1,000 people, it’s the county seat of Pamlico.

We love playing tourist and snapping photos of the beautiful scenery. Enjoy!

Bayboro, NC

Bayboro, NC

Pamlico fishing industry

Pamlico fishing industry


Outside Bayboro

Outside Bayboro

Thanks to all who came out for our Open House!

On Friday, May 2 we hosted an Open House. Dozens of friends and supporters came out to support our mission. Here are some photos from the event!

Our Board and ED

Our Board and ED, From left to right- April Giancola (Chair), Vanessa Lucas (Vice Chair), Jennifer Wyatt (Executive Director), Sarah Jessica Farber (Board Member), and Dan Hatley (Board Member)




Our hosts, Max and Elena













April Giancola, Chair and Jennifer Wyatt, Executive Director

April Giancola, Chair and Jennifer Wyatt, Executive Director


Jennifer Wyatt, Executive Director, about to speak on our upcoming project!

Jennifer Wyatt, Executive Director, about to speak on our upcoming project!

Twelve Layer Cake, a Southern Tradition!


April Giancola, R2JNC Chair

April Giancola, R2JNC Chair

Vanessa Lucas, R2JNC Vice Chair

Vanessa Lucas, R2JNC Vice Chair

Dan Hatley, R2JNC Board Member

Dan Hatley, R2JNC Board Member

Sarah Jessica Farber, R2JNC Board Member

Sarah Jessica Farber, R2JNC Board Member

Rusty and Blondie were there too!

Rusty and Blondie were there too!

All the cool chicks!

All the cool chicks!

Pamlico County History

A scene depicting an Algonquin village in the Carolinas, from the University of Michigan Exhibit Museum

Roads to Justice NC brings a positive, respectful approach to helping folks out in rural North Carolina. Our entire mission is built around the unique challenges faced by women and families outside our cities, but we also celebrate the life, history and culture of the communities we work with.

So we start with some historical background.

Pamlico County was inhabited by the most southern Algonquins on the Atlantic. Referred to as the “Pomoui” in the late 16th century by English colonists, small pox, warfare, and relocated decimated the local population. Accurate estimates are hard to come by, as disease often preceded European explorers, but by 1710 only  a few hundred Pamlicos remained. After war with the Tuscarora, only a few Pamlico survived.

Scenes like the one depicted to the left were often created by artists who never laid eyes on local life. Much of Pamlico’s early history is lost. However, we do know a few things. Trading in dugout canoes, some Pamlico goods have been found as far away as the North Atlantic. The Pamlico took advantage of their location on Pamlico Sound, between the Neuse and Pamlico Rivers, by consuming fish and shellfish. Later settlers would follow suit and rely on the waters surrounding Pamlico for their livelihood.

When R2JNC travels through Pamlico County, we recognize the wealth of history present. Please check back frequently as we share what we learn.



Roads to Justice Open House


May 2, 2014 6-9 pm

Email or call (919)442-8782 for address (in Raleigh). 

We are hosting an Open House! We are bursting at the seams with excitement over the latest developments at R2J and we want to share them with you. Come by anytime- we’ll be providing food and drinks, and talking about our latest plans. Our Board of Directors and Executive Director Jen Wyatt will be there to answer questions and have a good time.  Hope to see you there!

Board Meeting Update from ED Jennifer Wyatt

Yesterday R2J had a board meeting, full of big decisions and exciting prospects. Indeed, we have a lot to look forward to! Here are some of our highlights:

  • April Giancola was elected as chair of the board. Vanessa Lucas will be our vice chair. Thank you ladies for your hard work!
  • Our Open House was set for May 2, from 6-9 pm. Stay tuned for more details.
  • We discussed potential partnerships. R2J has many exciting opportunities to work with lawyers and other nonprofits. Every day it seems we add another coalition partner!
  • Development is going very well- we are able to work on three different fronts- rural issues, women’s issues, and legal services.
  • Perhaps the most exciting decision of the night- our next site! Watch out Pamlico County! We will be sharing more about the Pamlico’s history and culture, and facts about life there. Respect is important to R2J, not just of the women we work with, but of the community as a whole. We love North Carolina and can’t wait to get to work in Pamlico!

team-justice-leagueI would like to thank our entire Board of Directors for attending the meeting.Thank you, Kim, April, Vanessa, Sarah Jessica, and Dan!


Uninsured in North Carolina

I had the pleasure of attending Disability Rights NC‘s Disability Advocacy Conference in Chapel Hill today. One break-out session of particular interest to us at R2J was about the Affordable Care Act.

I wasn’t there to hear about its merits or weaknesses- I was interested in how it impacts regular folks. R2J is an apolitical organization, and this presentation was simply full of facts. I learned that only 54% of North Carolinians are covered by insurance through their employers. A staggering 1.6 million nonelderly Tarheels are uninsured. Health insurance (or a lack of it) greatly impacts the overall health of a family, so to make the best decisions we need to understand this new law.

Many of us have questions about the ACA- Who must participate? Who pays the penalties? Who is eligible for subsidies? What is this Marketplace after all? How does Medicaid fit in? What on earth is the “family donut”? The questions go on and on, and as I learned from DRNC Advocate and ACA Navigator Gabby Martino today, the ACA is a moving target. She shared new changes with us that were only 48 hours old.

This is exactly the sort of topic that R2J jumps into with both feet. Stay tuned for more information from R2J’s role in educating the women of rural NC!

If you’re curious about health coverage statistics, The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation is a fantastic resource on health reform! See the graph from the website below:


Welcome Sarah Jessica Farber, our newest board member

SJF headshotRoads to Justice is excited to announce the addition of our newest board member!

Sarah Jessica Farber is a solo practitioner in Raleigh, North Carolina, with a statewide criminal defense practice in criminal trials, appeals, and post-conviction litigation in our state and federal courts.  She is a life-long lover of the printed word, and majored in English with a concentration in publishing at Penn State.  At North Carolina Central University School of Law, she served as articles editor on the Law Review, and helped put out three issues of the Review, was part of Moot Court Board, and as a founding board member of the Public Interest Law Organization.  She was named a Lawyer’s Weekly Emerging Legal Leader in 2011, and serves on the board of the North Carolina Advocates for Justice and is an advisor to the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina’s Legal Foundation.  She is active with the North Carolina Central University School of Law Alumni Association and local dog rescue groups.

Thank you, Sarah Jessica for your support of R2J!

R2JNC on Hiatus


We remain committed to providing legal education and promoting communication in North Carolina. We expect to be back at work in the Spring of 2014. Please stay tuned!