“Not going to white-wash any of the recommendations”
The City of Charleston’s Special Commission on Equity, Inclusion and Racial Conciliation released Wednesday a 545-page draft plan documenting its work so far, including 125 recommendations to promote racial justice and equity in the city.
The report is the culmination of a year spent reviewing city policies, practices, budgets and other matters pertaining to racial inequities in Charleston. The recommendations were created by a group of 49 experts and volunteers representing groups around town who have served on seven subcommittees throughout the process. The group’s meeting Tuesday marked the first public release of its findings.
“The task before them was not a simple one: to investigate the state of racial inequity in every sector of our city today, and to challenge us with bold recommendations to close those gaps,” Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg wrote in a message in the draft report. “And yet they showed up each day with not just the passion, but the patience to face these issues head on and come up with recommendations for consideration by our City Council.”
According to Charleston City Councilmen William Dudley Gregorie and Jason Sakran, who co-chair the commission, the recommendations are meant to be starting points of a process that is expected to take some time, with the ultimate goal of transforming Charleston’s current government into an “actively anti-racist” one.
Just some of the recommendations include ensuring policing as a community service, providing Black-owned businesses better access to capital, reducing the poverty rate in Black communities, establishing a Fair Housing Assistance Program, introduce anti-racism and anti-bias training and more.
The commission voted to deliver the draft report to City Council and Mayor John Tecklenburg for acceptance at the upcoming Aug. 17 meeting, and Gregorie said he expects the council to approve moving forward with it, where as a member, he said he would ensure the recommendations would stand as they are.
“We’re not going to white-wash any of the recommendations. The recommendations are what they are,” he said Tuesday night. “By the time it gets to council, ‘draft’ should be removed.”
Jurisdiction over particular reform, and whether county or state officials or others would become involved have yet to be determined.
The full report can be read online at charleston-sc.gov.
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