GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – 7NEWS is launching a new series called “Community Conversations.”

Throughout this series, we will be sitting down for one-on-one conversations with leaders, influencers, innovators, change agents, and the movers and shakers of the Upstate community on topics that matter to you.

Anchor Taylor Murray recently spoke with Reverend Deb Richardson Moore about bias against the homeless.

“A homeless man once said, ‘Do you know the worst thing about being homeless? It’s not being cold or wet or hungry. The worst thing about being homeless is being looked right through.”

Deb Richardson-Moore, Chair of the Steering Committee for the Greenville Homeless Alliance

It’s a passion that ignited well over a decade ago—to serve those experiencing homelessness. Rev. Deb Richardson-Moore left a lengthy career as a journalist to go into full-time ministry.

“I was a reporter for the Greenville News for 27 years, and I ended up as pastor of Triune Mercy Center,” Richardson-Moore said.

Stepping into ministry, she said, opened her eyes to the needs of the Upstate. She started what soon became a thriving outreach to those in need.

“We started offering what we call backyard mission days. I would take our parishioners from our churches into the encampments under the bridges, actually meeting homeless people,” Richardson-Moore said.

Now retired from her role at the church, Richardson-Moore is still working to break down barriers that keep some of the most vulnerable from being included in society. She’s doing that as steering committee chair for the Greenville Homeless Alliance.

Identifying and moving past the bias

“If we think, either, number one, we are better than them or that could never happen to me or this was something they brought on themselves… That kind of thinking… It prevents us from wanting to help,” she explained.

Richardson-Moore said ‘wanting’ to help is the first step to moving past our bias.

The next step is to find smart and effective ways to make a difference.

“I never advocated people going alone into encampments or even confronting someone on the street,” Richardson-Moore said. “What I always advocate is coming alongside someone who’s doing good work and learning and helping that way.”

Richardson-Moore said we cannot define people solely by their circumstances.

She said, recognizing our shared humanity is key if we truly wish to prevent and end homelessness.

“The willingness to look at someone, as a fellow human being, as you know, a fellow member of our human race,” Richardson-Moore said.

Rev. Deb Richardson-Moore is one of more than a dozen community leaders that will speak at the upcoming “Peace and Conflict Resolution Conference” hosted by the Rotary Club of Greenville.

The annual conference will be held on May 12 at the Greenville Convention Center. This year’s theme is “Finding Peace in a World Full of Conflict and Bias.” 7NEWS Anchor Taylor Murray will serve as “Master of Ceremonies”.

If you are interested in attending, you can register at peaceandconflictresolution.com.