CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – The Human Affairs and Racial Conciliation Commission (HARCC) received final approval at Wednesday’s city council meeting, but there are some amendments and not everyone is happy about them.
A 9 to 4 vote cemented the new commission as part of the city.
“The point of the commission is to work in an advisory capacity with council and the mayor,” councilman Jason Sakran said. “Really to help identify policies and practices that exacerbate the current disparities that we have in our city. So, whether that’s around housing, economic development or health.”
The committee will provide recommendations to councilmembers and the mayor on how to make Charleston more equitable for all.
“A lot of these are common sense,” Sakran said. “Practical things where we’re talking about zoning laws, we’re talking about housing policy, we’re talking about some of our economy empowerment opportunities for women and minority-owned businesses. These are common sense things that 95 percent of our population agree on.”
The ordinance was met with opposition from some councilmembers, however.
“We have a few more councilmembers that I’ve had personal conversations with that were supportive but had some issues with a few of the recommendations,” Sakran said.
The commission was approved with several amendments to ensure the commission won’t advocate to defund the police, provide cash reparations or teach critical race theory.
“Was it perfect?” Sakran said. “No, and really the litmus test for me was there was nothing in the ordinance for me last night that’s going to prohibit or somehow diminish the potential for the commission to be successful.”
But some feel several of those amendments are unfair.
“There’s already discrimination of this commission against discrimination,” Black Lives Matter Charleston activist Marcus McDonald said. “It’s a lot of backwards walking and it frustrates me, but as I said, I have hope that things will move forward.”
HARCC is now looking to begin the process of selecting members.