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Our Framework:

We recognize the urgent need for systemic change around racial justice in Charleston. We are cognizant of the widely shared feeling that conversation is not enough. In creating the Social Justice Racial Equity Collaborative: Transforming from the Inside Out, The Sophia Institute seeks to convene and align respective goals, resources, and audiences to maximize collective impact for Social Justice and Racial Equity.

Our Vision:

A just, sustainable, and thriving community where all people of all races are empowered to fulfill their human potential.

Living Your Truth – Conversations in Courage

Living Your truth is a series of conversations with those on the front lines, who bravely and gracefully live the truth of their hearts within their formidable lives.

Our Mission:

We inspire collaborative action by advancing bold strategies that promote personal, structural, and systemic change in social justice and racial equity through truth, healing, and transformation.

Our Agenda:

Our agenda is simple; we want to influence social justice and racial equity in Charleston. Over the next 3-5 years, we will work to:

  1. Address truth, healing, and transformation and bring about systemic change in our community
  2. Support and lead vital conversations that lead to actionable strategy and policy improvement for people of color in the areas of education, policing, gun violence prevention, healthcare, housing, economic justice, and expansion of voting rights and democracy
  3. Develop culturally competent leaders who understand the rich and complex racial history of our community and are empowered to act with an equity lens
  4. Promote racial equity while creating a new legacy of social justice within Charleston

Our Approach:

Working from the inside out, we recognize that a healthy, diverse and inclusive community grows out of an acknowledgment of our interdependence and shared humanity. Using a collaborative approach, we convene leaders and thought-partners across race, gender and generations to resolve historical and contemporary barriers to access and opportunities for people of color. By addressing the challenges that emerge from structural and institutional racism, we are transforming Charleston into a more just and equitable place to live, work and thrive.

Through collaboration with our Council and Engagement Partners, we create alignment and support to existing effective community initiatives addressing social justice and racial equity in the following areas:

  • Access to quality education for all
  • Ending discriminatory policing
  • Gun violence prevention
  • Access to affordable and adequate healthcare
  • Assure housing affordability
  • Expand Voting Rights
  • Economic justice and competitive wages

Our work:

Over the next year, we will focus on the following strategies:

  • Continue and enhance Living Your Truth series focusing and contextualizing on each of 7 areas of focus required for truth, racial healing, and transformation through the lens of the past, present, and future possibilities
  • Identify and select training, education and leadership development programs and models that will inspire corporate and civic leaders and community members to develop culturally competent leadership and to foster a new understanding through expanding perspectives and develop models to fund this work

Our Invitation:

Join us by investing in a socially just and racially equitable Charleston. Your support benefits the lives now and for future generations to come. For more Information on how you can engage in this movement, please contact us.

Proposed Structure:

  • Leadership Team (8): Charter the infrastructure and guide the initiative
  • Racial Justice Council (35+): Unify decisions and lead the initiative and programs and events
  • Engagement Partners (40 +): Help inform and promote the initiatives and attend programs and events
  • Greater Charleston Leadership (300 +): Attend programs and events and cascade initiatives.

SJREC Collaborative Council and Engagement Partners:

Honorary Co-Chairs:

Hon. John Tecklenburg
Hon. Bernard Fielding
Hon. Alex Sanders
Hon. Lucille Whipper

Leadership Team:

Barbara Kelley-Duncan Co-Chair
Carolyn Rivers Co-Chair – The Sophia Institute
Melissa Maddox Evans- Housing Authority City of Charleston/Charleston County Housing and Redevelopment Authority
Darrin Goss- Coastal Community Foundation
Sandy Morckel- Solutions for the Greater Good
Rev. Nelson Rivers, III- Lead Pastor Charity Baptist Church, National Action Network
Henry Smythe- Womble, Bond, Dickinson (US) LLP

Social Justice Racial Equity Council:

Tom Anderson- MUSC Foundation
Nella Barkley- Crystal/Barkley Corporation
Jessica Boylston-Fagonde- Further Fund and Ideas into Action
Cam Busch- The Sophia Institute Board Member
Sandra Campbell- Gullah Tours
Quinetha Frasier- Social Missions Architects
Kerri Forrest- YWCA of Greater Charleston
Dwayne Green- Dwayne Green Law Offices
Jon Hale- College of Charleston
Julie Hussey- Civic Communications
Wilbur Johnson
Linda Ketner- Community Activist
Marina Lopez
Brittany Mathis- Friends of the Charleston County Public Library
Caroline Mauldin- Carolina Future Minds
Bernie Mazyck- SC Association of Community Development Corporations
Madeleine McGee- Together SC
Rev. Kylon Middleton- Lead Pastor Mt. Zion AME
Jack Mitchell- AT&T Regional Director
Sally Newman- Charleston Legal Access
Thetyka Robinson- Pink Moon Marketing & Consulting
Rev. Jeremy Rutledge- Lead Pastor Circular Congregational Church
Andrea Schenck- Pacifica Human Communications, LLC / Enough Pie
Bill Stanfield- Metanoia
Paul Stoney- YMCA of Charleston
Kenda Sweet- Kenda Sweet Events
Sandy Tecklenburg- community activist
Rep. Seth Whipper- South Carolina State Representative
Garcia Williams
Patricia Williams-Lessane- Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture

Engagement Partners:

Avery Research Center for African-American History and Culture
Center for Women
Charleston Area Justice Ministries (CAJM)
Charleston Forum on Race
Charleston Illumination Project
Charleston Legal Access
Charleston Promise Neighborhood
Charleston School of Law
Civic Communications
Coastal Conservation League
Friends of the Charleston Public Library
Future Fund
International African American Museum (IAAM)
League of Women Voters
Lowcountry Local First
Passages Artists Collective
Quality of Community Life Initiative
Second Presbyterian Church
Solutions for the Greater Good
The Race and Social Justice Initiative
Tricounty Cradle to Career
Trident United Way
Unity Church of Charleston
Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of the Lowcountry

Problems of high social complexity cannot be peacefully solved by authorities from on high; the people involved must participate in creating and implementing solutions.

– Adam Kahane, Solving Tough Problems


341 East Bay Street (Offices only)
Charleston, SC 29401