Charleston City Hall

Charleston City Council, at Tuesday night’s meeting, will again consider a measure that would establish a permanent Commission on Equity, Inclusion and Racial Conciliation and describe its purpose, duties, responsibilities and organization.

The commission has been rejected twice at previous meetings, with an initial vote against formally receiving a report written by the commission in August, and a subsequent vote against making the commission permanent in September.

“Do we want a mechanism, a body, that considers in our future a more equitable, a more inclusive city and policies that would lead us to a more equitable place?” Mayor John Tecklenburg asked council prior to September’s vote. “That’s why we would form this commission, to continue the work of considering things that would make Charleston a more equitable and just place.”

The commission’s report, introduced in August, detailed 125 recommendations for the city to address inequities in criminal justice, economic empowerment, health and environmental justice. The 500-page report was the product of year’s work by 49 experts and volunteers representing groups from the community.

“City council’s rejection of the commission’s report directly contradicts its stated commitment to  address the legacies of slavery and Jim Crow and present-day racially biased public policy, as was expressed in its 2018 apology for slavery. Instead of embracing a spirit of truth and conciliation, city council has censored a healthy discussion of possible solutions to blatant racial justice issues that have plagued our city for centuries,” seven authors of the report wrote in an October City Paper column.

If the measure passes first reading tonight, it will go up for second reading at the next council meeting.


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