Glowfisch Hospitality, acclaimed for its health-conscious menus made from local farm food at restaurants across the Charleston area, is concerned about local health in another sphere: Charleston’s racial atmosphere.
To encourage the growth of racial equity in the Charleston region, the hospitality company has committed $10,000 to sponsor scholarships for executives and staff in the hospitality field to attend YWCA Greater Charleston’s local Racial Equity Institute workshops.
Each workshop takes place over two consecutive weekdays. Led by facilitators from the Racial Equity Institute, nationally recognized for helping communities address institutional and systemic racism, they’re designed to help local leaders understand and address racism in their own communities, workplaces, and personal lives.
“I believe this is a critical time in our country, and that it is time for lasting and substantial change in terms of racial injustice, inequality, and systemic racism,” said Joe Fischbein, owner of Glowfisch Hospitality. “I think it is important to keep up the momentum and not let it fizzle out again as we’ve seen in the past. We’ve sponsored these Racial Equity Institute workshops in the hopes that they will help us and others continue to examine ourselves and develop a better understanding of racial inequity, its impacts, and how we can be part of the solution.”
Held in person each month prior to the pandemic, YWCA Greater Charleston’s Racial Equity Institute trainings will shortly move to a virtual format until it is safe to hold in-person workshops again.
It’s a life-changing training especially needed in the hospitality field.
“Because the majority of support staff in the hospitality industry are people of color, there’s often an inherent power dynamic of predominately white leadership and black support or service staff,” said Tina L. Singleton, social justice coordinator for YWCA Greater Charleston. “Regardless of how well-meaning leaders are, if they don’t truly understand how systemic racism has worked throughout history and thus aren’t able to critically examine how they operate, they won’t be able to ensure an equitable work environment.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has shed light on disparities not only in healthcare but in employment, disproportionately affecting people of color working in hospitality, said YWCA Greater Charleston Executive Director LaVanda Brown.
“The overwhelming majority of those displaced from their jobs due to the pandemic have been people of color,” Brown said. “At a time when business has been uncertain, the Glowfisch Hospitality Scholarship will show leaders in this industry how the creation of more equitable, diverse, and inclusive workplaces is not only important culturally, but economically.”
Fischbein agrees. “Although these are very challenging times for restaurant and small business owners,” he said, “I felt it was important to do what I can to help propel this change forward. My hope is that this may inspire other business owners to think about ways they may do so too.”
Executives and staff in the hospitality industry can apply for the Glowfisch Hospitality Scholarship immediately at www.ywcagc.org/rei-scholarship.