Charleston’s Equity, Inclusion, and Racial Conciliation Commission working to end institutionalized racism

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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – The City of Charleston is working to bring together the community in an effort to achieve racial equity. The Equity, Inclusion, and Racial Conciliation Commission is made up of seven subcommittees all working toward the same goal of eliminating institutionalized racism in the City of Charleston.

The subcommittees include:

  • Housing and Mobility
  • Youth and Education
  • History and Culture
  • Economic Empowerment
  • Criminal Justice
  • Health Disparities and Environmental Justice
  • and Internal Review

According to the City of Charleston’s website, “members of the commission will have 90 days to map out a vision of achieving racial equity in the community.”

Several of the subcommissions held their first meetings last week. On Wednesday, the Youth and Education and the Internal Review subcommittees will get together for the second time.

“The internal review subcommittee is really what it says,” Councilmember for District 3, Jason Sakran said. “The City of Charleston is taking a hard look at what they’re doing internally. Daron Calhoun is leading that as the chair. He’s looking at all of the practices and policies within the city of Charleston because if we’re going to make these recommendations in 90 days, we really need to lead by example. “

Sakran said Wednesday’s Internal Review meeting will also feature on Councilman Appel who is an expert on land use. The goal of bringing him into the conversation is to have him address zoning issues.

The Youth and Education committee will focus on all of the youth and education initiatives in the City of Charleston, and in the county.

“But they’re also doing something unique which really speaks and exemplifies our commission, is they’re going to have a young person as a part of the commission,” Sakran said. “When I say a young person, a high school student could potentially be a part of that commission. Our goal has always been to bring in new leadership and to bring in new voices, and that’s exemplary of what that youth and education subcommittees do.”

Sakran said the biggest takeaway from these meetings thus far, is how interconnected all of the issues and the challenges are even though the subcommittees are different.

“For example, when we talk about success for the entire community, it can’t be fully recognized until we have equal education outcomes for all children, equal access to working capital to apply to start small businesses, as well as access to affordable housing,” Sakran said. “Each one of these issues is separate but interconnected.”

Councilmember Sakran said it all starts at the grassroots.

“I really look at this as an opportunity for us to re-think how we function in Charleston, and how we serve all people in Charleston, and that is going to be a path forward for a new vision. And that’s kind’ve the goal of the commission.”

Sakran said he knows the decisions are going to be bold and maybe some not so popular, but that’s part of the job as a city councilmember.

“That’s part of the job as being a leader,” Sakran said. “I’ve expressed that we really want recommendations after the 90 days to be bold, a visionary, and audatious. We’re pushing our commission members to do that.”

The Equity, Inclusion, and Racial Conciliation’s Youth and Education Committee will meet on Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. followed by the Internal Review Committee expected to meet at 6 p.m.

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