Charleston considering committee on racial inequality, help for small businesses

Charleston considering committee on racial inequality, help for small businesses
Charleston City Council will consider a new committee to battle racial inequality as well as a grant application that would help small businesses. (Source: Live 5/File)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - After days of protests over the death of a Minneapolis man who died while in police custody last month, the city of Charleston will consider creating a new committee on handling racial inequality.

A new ordinance would create a special committee for the city to focus on developing plans to tackle the issue. Charleston City Council will review the ordinance on equity, inclusion and racial conciliation for the first time at its Tuesday night meeting.

The plan would have five council members and six community members on the committee with the main goals of reviewing the city’s policies, practices and budget. It would recommend changes to the council and mayor that would promote racial justice.

The ordinance specifically mentions racial bias audits and recruitment policies as well as the city’s 2018 apology for slavery.

“Its an opportunity for the city to review the apology, and to also review its own policies, just to hold a mirror to itself and see what racial inequities exist and what can be changed,” City of Charleston Manager of Diversity, Racial Reconciliation and Tolerance Amber Johnson said.

Council hopes to have a plan of action in the next 90 days. Once the committee is approved, they would have monthly meetings.

City to apply for grant to help small businesses

The city received a letter from the Economic Development Agency encouraging Charleston to apply for an $850,000 grant. That grant would then allow the city to loan money to small businesses in Charleston that have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

The city received a similar grant a few years back and city officials are hopeful the Holy City would be chosen to receive a new grant. Leaders expect to hear back about the grant within a few months.

The amount of individual loans is still to be determined.

You can listen in to the meeting via conference call at 4:30 p.m. by calling 929-205-6099; when prompted for an access code, enter 300 611 887.

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