Class of 2021 BEQ Pride LGBTQ Leader Under 40
(She, Her) is 38
NC State Elected Official
Vernetta Alston will be a voice for social justice in the North Carolina State House.
Vernetta Alston is a member of the North Carolina House of Representatives from the 29th district. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from North Carolina State University in 2004. In 2009, she received her law degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and spent the next several years fighting for the constitutional rights of death row inmates and educating people about the flaws in our criminal justice system. Alston and her wife, Courtney, are raising their two children, Reese and Davis, in southwest Durham.
Vernetta Alston was born in Durham, NC and has spent her entire life in the Triangle. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from North Carolina State University in 2004. By 2009, she finished her law degree at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Alston’s first job out of law school was as a staff attorney for the Racial Justice Act Studies following the passage of the Racial Justice Act in the fall of 2009. According to the ACLU, the RJA allowed capital defendants to challenge their death sentences if they successfully prove that race was a significant factor in decisions to seek or impose the death penalty at the time of their trials.
Alston spent the next several years of her legal practice fighting for the constitutional rights of death row inmates and educating North Carolinians about the flaws in our criminal justice system. In 2014, through the work of the North Carolina Innocence Inquiry Commission, one of Alston’s clients, then the longest-serving death row inmate in North Carolina, was exonerated and released from prison.
In 2017, Alston continued her public service on the Durham City Council, where she served through April 2020. During her city council tenure, the Council extended living wages to all City employees; supported those facing political harassment and deportation; started a participatory budgeting program; supported diversion programs for justice-involved and those facing eviction; and made historic investments in affordable housing.
As a member of the North Carolina House, Alston wants to use her experience to fight for change that will impact Durham and serve the best interests of everyone in North Carolina.
Alston and her wife, Courtney, are raising their two children, Reese and Davis, in southwest Durham.