By Barney Blakeney
July 16 Charleston Promise Neighborhood hosted the second in a series of community forums to discuss the effects of gentrification at Chicora Elementary School in North Charleston. Charleston Promise Neighborhood serves children and their families in the area of the Metro Charleston known as The Neck. Its programming focuses on creating a safe, engaging environment for our students to explore.
Charleston Promise Neighborhood March 21 held the first of five community forums this year titled ‘The Miseducation of Gentrification’ in an unprecedented panel discussion at Burke High School. An enlightening panel was assembled to bring information and perspective to the discussion. Some 175 people attended the July 16 forum where various individuals brought expertise and resources to share. Speakers included; Omar Muhammad, LAMC; North Charleston resident AJ Davis, CCSD Employee/Vice President of Chicora Cherokee Neighborhood Association; Bryan Cordell, Executive Director, Sustainability Institute; and Michael Miller, Charleston County Register of Deeds.
A two-part breakout session followed the discussion. The first part – “My Neighborhood” was facilitated by Sue Griffin of the City of Charleston Neighborhood Services and Meg Thompson, City of Charleston Neighborhood Services Manager. The second part – “Fired Up & Ready for Action” was facilitated by Ruth Jordan, Director of the City of Charleston Minority Business Enterprise. A question and answer period followed the session.
Radia Heyward, Community Engagement Program Manager said the next session will be September 19 at a location to be announced later. The next three forums will be structured around civic engagement, housing, education and economic development, she said.