Thanks to a $200,000 grant from Google, the College of Charleston Race and Social Justice Initiative (RSJI) has been extended, expanding its work on race and inequality.
Led by the Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture, the Marlene and Nathan Addlestone Library, the African American Studies Program and the Lowcountry Digital History Initiative, RSJI was originally launched in response to the tragedy at Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church in 2015. With support from Google and many community partners, RSJI hosted community forums, film screenings and lectures by nationally acclaimed social justice leaders, including Bryan Stevenson and Marian Wright Edelman.
“We are extremely grateful for the new round of funding by Google for the Race and Social Justice Initiative,” says Daron Calhoun, RSJI coordinator in the Avery Research Center. “This grant will allow us to continue our mission of facilitating discussions on race and social justice through the development of programming for the community.”
This renewed funding allows RSJI’s programming and projects to continue promoting public awareness and dialogue about racial inequalities in the Lowcountry and expands its efforts to serve as a transformative resource in the Lowcountry and beyond. As Stevenson asserted during his RSJI lecture in March 2016: In Charleston and throughout the United States, “we have to change the narrative.”
“The Race and Social Justice Initiative is committed to making long-term systemic change in the Lowcountry, and we are proud that Google and our sponsors are with us in our these efforts,” says Calhoun. “With the help of Google and our great community partners, we are able to organize numerous public events in 2017.”
RSJI will kick off the year with an equal employment workshop featuring directors from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and will also resume its lecture series, beginning with the highly anticipated rescheduled lecture by journalist and author Ta-Nehisi Coates on March 21, 2017.
In addition, RSJI will support the upcoming College of Charleston conference, Transforming Public History From Charleston to the Atlantic World, which will be hosted by the Avery Research Center, the Carolina Lowcountry and Atlantic World Program and the Addlestone Library on June 14–17, 2017. The conference will require registration, but the June 15 keynote lecture – to be delivered by Lonnie Bunch, director of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture – and the plenary sessions will be free and open to the public.
In fall 2017, RSJI will also announce details about the Lowcountry’s first disparities report, which will provide insights into the region’s systemic inequalities and future solutions.