The State of Racial Disparities in Charleston County, South Carolina 2000-2015
Commissioned by The College of Charleston’s Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture. Funded by Google.
On behalf of the Dr. Patricia Williams Lessane and Dr. John White, coprincipals of the Race and Social Justice Initiative; the Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture; and the College of Charleston, it is with great honor that I present to you The State of Racial Disparities in Charleston County, South Carolina 2000-2015 written by Dr. Stacey Patton with recommendations developed by the Race and Social Justice Initiative (RSJI) leadership and staff. RSJI was founded in 2015 following a major grant from Google in response to the tragedy at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. Since our inception, RSJI has been leading efforts in the Lowcountry to promote public awareness, increase dialogue, and effect long-term systemic change on issues surrounding race and injustice.
The RSJI team is pleased to deliver this fact-based resource to the Lowcountry, state of South Carolina, and the nation. The principal investigators, including the late Dr. Conseula Francis, envisioned a document that would aggregate, analyze, and narrate data from multiple government and organizational sources. It was also decided that a report of this magnitude would be best served if conducted as an independent audit of inequities in Charleston County to stifle any local biases. The commissioning of Dr. Stacey Patton, award-winning author, journalist, and assistant professor of multimedia journalism at Morgan State University, to author this report proved to be instrumental to its successful completion. Dr. Patton’s unyielding research and analytical expertise offer this report another source of national validation and the RSJI team is forever indebted to her undertaking this daunting task.
The production of The State of Racial Disparities in Charleston County 2000–2015 has been a labor of love for the Race and Social Justice Initiative team. Throughout the report, we have used a racial equity lens for examining racial disparities and a racial equity framework for addressing and removing the systemic barriers we found. It is our intention to provide the community with a resource that will aid in the continued dialogue of facing inequities in Charleston County. It will also serve as a living document for scholars, graduate students, and community members will actively track the progress being made by the county.
As you read the report, please remember each disparate figure that occurs represents a person living in this county. When reports of this nature are produced, much too often do we forget the faces behind the numbers. It will take the entire community to help shift this pattern of inequities and ensure every citizen of Charleston County is given an equal playing field to pursue the American Dream.
Daron Lee Calhoun II
Race and Social Justice Initiative
Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture