Charleston activists call for reparations, pushing city to release racial equity report
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Community activists are calling for more action eleven months after Charleston City Council created a special commission on equity, inclusion, and racial conciliation.
Saturday afternoon, around 15 Charleston Black Lives Matter activists showed up at Phillip Simmons Park on Charleston’s Eastside pushing for city-wide reparations.
“We believe it takes both holistic approach and direct payments,” Charleston BLM organizer Marcus McDonald said.
The group is supporting the release of the equity commission’s upcoming report but are calling on council to include reparations in it.
“If people have more resources, they will have more of a buy-in,” local activist Jerry Harris said. “If you own something or have resources, you’re part of a vibrant economy.”
The commission first started last June with the goal of releasing an action plan to better reach minority communities within 90 days. But extensions have pushed back the release of the report.
“You created this commission, don’t just let it idle by,” McDonald said. “These recommendations are important but actually address the issues and fix the issues we are saying need to be fixed.”
“The commission is still in the process of finalizing its recommendations and drafting the final report,” commission co-chair Jason Sakran said.
City councilmember, Robert Mitchell, who represents Charleston’s Eastside says he wants the results of the commission to lead to lasting change.
“Make an action plan, not just doing a commission and nothing happens,” Mitchell said. “People coming together and working together in harmony and peace, that’s the only way things are going to happen.”
“I personally am looking expectantly to all that comes next. I believe there are many of us who agree that the Commission become a permanent function of the City, to be established by Council and then an ongoing structure and mission to be determined,” District 12 Council Member Carol A Jackson said. “Again personally, I believe we’ve finally begun a journey that will lead to changes that take on the societal disparities we are agreeing are true and no longer acceptable in our society.”
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