Congregations join Charleston County Schools to address behavior with ‘restorative practices’

March 23, 2018. The Post and Courier.

When LuAnn Rosenzweig’s son got in a fight 14 years ago at Wando High, the administration punished him with a three-day suspension.

What bothered Rosenzweig is that the school didn’t address the underlying conflict: Her son and the other students returned to school three days later and were expected to act as if nothing had happened.

CAJM Moving Past Its Successes Onto Affordable Housing In 2018

February 16, 2018. The Charleston Chronicle. 

Charleston Area Justice Ministry President Rev. Charles Heyward thinks the network of faith-based congregations ended 2017 on a high note, though there were some disappointments. Currently some 28 congregations are members of the organization formed in 2011 to address social justice issues. Its first initiative in 2012 was to address Schools/Education and Crime/Violence.  Each year since CAJM successfully has challenged issues that include wage inequity and police bias. Last November members voted to address affordable housing and gentrification in 2018.

Charleston to hire new firm to audit police department, a move interfaith group begged for

November 28, 2017. The Post and Courier.

The city of Charleston is heeding the call of the Charleston Area Justice Ministry to find a new firm to audit its police department.

The city hired Novak Consulting of Cincinnati earlier this year to audit multiple city departments to improve their performance, a scope of work that included a review of the police department. Members of the local interfaith group have argued repeatedly at City Council meetings that the firm doesn’t have enough experience identifying potentially racially-biased police practices.

On Tuesday, Charleston City Council approved a decision made by the Public Safety Committee to remove the police audit from Novak’s contract and begin searching for a new firm to do the job.

Charleston Public Safety Committee agrees to start over on police audit

November 27, 2017. Charleston City Paper.

Activists walked out of City Hall feeling vindicated on Monday morning after the Public Safety Committee voted unanimously to remove a police department audit from Novak Consulting’s task list.

Novak Consulting was hired in February to conduct a performance audit of all city operations, as reported in February. The city-wide audit was a key vow of Mayor John Tecklenburg’s campaign. But civil rights and social justice advocates have repeatedly painted the firm as too inexperienced to gauge the intricacies of racial bias.

Charleston Area Justice Ministry selects housing as its issue for 2018

November 13, 2017. The Post and Courier.

Members of the Charleston Area Justice Ministry voted Monday night to select housing as its community-wide issue to tackle next year.

Votes were cast during the interfaith Justice Ministry’s annual Community Problems Assembly at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in West Ashley. Fifty-nine percent of 576 members chose housing out of three categories that included health care and transportation.

Formed in 2011, the interfaith Justice Ministry is an alliance of 27 Charleston area congregations and organizations that identifies social justice problems and proposes solutions. The Justice Ministry confronts public officials about policy proposals at the annual Nehemiah Action Assembly.