Seven local officials commit to help fix Charleston’s affordable housing crisis at annual CAJM gathering

May 1, 2018. Charleston City Paper.

Seven representatives from various Lowcountry governments agreed to join a regional housing coalition and to help establish a regional housing trust fund at the Charleston Area Justice Ministry’s annual Nehemiah Action gathering Monday night.

Nehemiah Action is arguably the largest gathering of policy-driven activists in the Charleston area. The rules of engaging with elected officials who show up to the meeting are created and enforced by the 27-member group to maximize clarity. They are asked yes or no questions and given 30 seconds to respond, after which their microphone is cut off.

Charleston ministries push elected officials to forge new affordable housing plans

April 30, 2018. The Post and Courier.

With housing prices in the Charleston area still hovering well above the national average, a coalition of local ministries has convinced elected officials in the Lowcountry’s largest cities and towns to team up and do something about it.

The Charleston Area Justice Ministry on Monday held its sixth annual Nehemiah Action Assembly, an event designed to challenge policymakers’ positions in front of thousands of ministry members. Past assemblies focusing on police practices and juvenile justice have been highly contentious, but the focus on affordable housing this year seemed to highlight a consensus among elected officials and the interfaith group.

Five City Council members set to attend activist gathering calling for affordable housing

April 25, 2018. Charleston City Paper.

At least eight area leaders, including five from Charleston City Council, have agreed to attend a local activist group’s gathering to discuss possible solutions to the city’s affordable housing crisis on Monday night.

A conversation on rising rent costs will be followed by a question-and-answer session with officials from the city of Charleston, the county, and neighboring municipalities at the Charleston Area Justice Ministry’s “Nehemiah Action.”

Can ‘restorative practices’ in schools get at the root of bad behavior? The idea is being tested

April 19, 2018. The Post and Courier.

The two boys were play-fighting, until suddenly they weren’t. The slap rang out at Northwoods Middle School.

Students at Northwoods are bound by the same rules and consequences as anyone else in the Charleston County School District. But thanks to a pilot program that started at their school and four others last year, the students also have a unique opportunity to face one another and make amends for their mistakes.

The pilot program is known as “restorative practices,” an approach to resolving conflicts that emphasizes personal responsibility and healing relationships. The approach was developed by Australian police to work with juvenile offenders in the 1990s, and it has since spread to schools worldwide.

Charleston officials consider recommendations for police racial bias study

April 4, 2018. Charleston City Paper.

City officials amended a document outlining recommendations for an upcoming audit to determine whether racial bias plays a part in Charleston policing practices at a sparsely-attended public meeting Wednesday morning.

Members of the ad-hoc police audit committee updated a scope of work proposal written by the Charleston Area Justice Ministry (CAJM), a local social justice advocacy group made up of 28 local congregations and organizations.