2020: Mary Harriman Award Winner

Chief Justice Cheri Beasley

Chief Justice Cheri Beasley honored with AJLI Mary Harriman Award from JLR Comms on Vimeo.

2020 Mary Harriman Community Leadership Award Winner Chief Justice Cheri Beasley

The Junior League of Raleigh and the Junior League of Fayetteville

The North Carolina Supreme Court celebrates its 200th anniversary led by a dynamic, influential Junior League woman. Chief Justice Cheri Beasley is an exemplary public servant who credits the relationships and leadership positions held during her active years in the Junior League of Fayetteville, NC as the launching pad for her judicial career. Her warm, humble demeanor and deep pride for her community are evident in her words and actions, and her passion for public service and promoting the rule of law is unmatched.

While the Chief Justice is a staunch believer in a fair and independent judiciary, she uses her platform to better the lives of all North Carolinians through engaging school systems, law enforcement, faith leaders and other stakeholders in discussions about community issues. She works tirelessly to make the judicial system more accessible for all North Carolinians, from implementing online services to holding court sessions in county courthouses across the state. Chief Justice Beasley is an exquisite example of servant leadership, actively mentoring young women, giving lectures across the country and being consistently involved in her local community.

Chief Justice Beasley is the kind of leader we all strive to be, genuinely caring for others and graciously balancing her roles as a public servant, wife, mother, friend and volunteer. She joined the Junior League during her 10-year tenure as a District Court judge in Cumberland County, NC and because of her unceasing dedication to the League, transferred as a sustainer to the Junior League of Raleigh while serving as an Associate Justice. Chief Justice Beasley has served on the state’s highest court since 2012 and was appointed by Governor Roy Cooper as North Carolina’s first African-American woman Chief Justice in March of this year.

It is apparent that Chief Justice Beasley’s commitment to League leadership and volunteerism while serving in public office as a woman of color opened doors for many women to step up and serve. Joining the Junior League of Fayetteville in 1998, she was one of only a few African American women in that League at the time. “Now there are several, but it was a difficult time because there really had not been," she says. “The League was growing and the League was having lots of success, but it was also having growing pains. Membership grew and it became more diverse, and I hope that in some way that my presence and my service impacted that.”

Chief Justice Beasley continues to make significant impacts on the citizens of North Carolina while leading the state’s highest court, and hopes that her public service and volunteerism are inspirational to others. “I know there are women who are right behind me who are preparing themselves in the very same way that I was, and they don’t know it — I didn’t know it — but they are preparing themselves. One day, I will be passing this seat on to the next Junior League woman, and it’s going to be a beautiful thing.”