GREENVILLE COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his work, several events were held in the Upstate on Monday.
The Greenville Racial Equity and Economic Mobility Commission’s town hall touched several key areas, but the main focus being income and wealth in Greenville County though the viewpoint of housing and economic justice. The town hall was held on a day leaders said was rich with history.
Monday night highlighted Dr. King and his work during the Civil Rights Movement.
“We all have our King stories, don’t we? We have a moment where we connected with this great man. And each of us, in our lives, do the best to stand for his dreams,” said one speaker.
Rev. Stacey Mills, with REEM, said the holiday was approved on February 1, 2005, in Greenville County.
“Really, it’s the intersection of a historic figure in Dr. Martin Luther King and his work to advance equality in our community,” said Reverend Stacey Mills.
A panel with local leaders discussed the impact of economics and job creation.
“If we get the proper jobs, we can begin to close the economic gap a little bit, but the greatest way to do that, which policy can help support, is through entrepreneurship,” said Representative Wendell Jones.
Members of the Greenville Racial Equity and Economic Mobility Commission, REEM, said they’re committed to creating change.
“Doing the hard policy work of studying what’s the impact of policies in criminal justice, health and wellness, income and wealth, community-wide learning and education,” said Rev. Mills.
The panel also discussed topics like faith, politics, racial inequities and how to get rid of race-based disparities.
The goal, Rev. Mills said, is to support a thriving black community.
“The ultimate goal is to create those moments of equality and advancement, as far as economic mobility is concerned,” he said.
Through working collectively, Mills said REEM has released a summary report to the community. Where data show, in Greenville County, Black household income is 56% of white household income.
To help address this, some suggestions to create change are: hosting community-wide learning events and sending leaders through the Racial Equity Institute’s training.
“Recommendations in all of those areas, working with all of the professionals to help them understand our respect for their work, but also implementing opportunities for people who live in our community to get to better,” said the Reverend.
Leaders said there is an urgency now to make these changes happen, where this town hall is just one step to building bridges and creating opportunities.
Dream Keeper Awards were also presented during the town hall to those who work toward making change in the community.