By Kenna Coe, Post and Courier

Charleston Area Justice Ministry is hosting its annual event that calls on local leaders to implement solutions to the region’s most pressing issues.

During this year’s Nehemiah Action, organizers are presenting a new campaign on education equality, in addition to ongoing work focused on reducing racial bias in policing and advocating for environmental justice.

The event is at 7 p.m. April 15 at Mt. Moriah Missionary Baptist Church, 7396 Rivers Ave., in North Charleston.

Organizers expect nearly 1,500 people to attend, including elected officials and local leaders who will participate in open dialogue about issues impacting the community.

“CAJM is a large group of faithful and concerned citizens in the community who want to be actively engaged … and want to be in conversation with these leaders in a public way,” said the Rev. Adam Shoemaker, co-president of CAJM and rector of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church.

CAJM is a network of faith-based congregations that work together to address systemic issues in the Charleston area.

The name Nehemiah Action comes from the Old Testament in the Bible, referencing the time Nehemiah gathered an assembly to challenge leaders who were unfairly enforcing taxes on the Jewish people after they returned from Babylonian exile, according to a CAJM spokesperson.

The goal of Nehemiah Action is to hold those who are in positions of power accountable for inequitable practices. In preparation for the event, CAJM hosted several meetings that engaged nearly 1,000 residents to discuss community problems.

Out of those meetings, CAJM leaders voted to add the education campaign to the list of ongoing efforts. During Nehemiah Action, CAJM leaders expect to participate in active negotiations with Charleston County School Board members to come up with solutions that encourage transparency.

Confirmed attendees at this year’s event include Charleston County School Board members Keith Grybowski, Darlene Roberson and Courtney Waters; Charleston County School District Superintendent Anita Huggins; and Charleston County Council Members Kylon Middleton and Rob Wehrman, according to a press release.

During the event, CAJM leaders will provide an update on ongoing efforts, such as restoring Gadsden Creek and implementing action items for local police departments based off racial bias audits.

Additionally, leaders will acknowledge successes over the last year, such as Charleston County’s investment in affordable housing. County Council approved the allocation of $4.15 million in accommodation tax revenues toward an affordable housing trust fund. This is an effort that CAJM has advocated for over the last handful of years.

View the original story here.