May 7, 2019. WIS News.

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) – 30 congregations of various faiths across the Midlands were in downtown Columbia tonight to try and improve social issues in our state. The group is called MORE Justice which stands for The Midlands Organized Response for Equity and Justice.

Tonight, they held their 2nd annual Nehemiah Action Assembly.

The group wanted to focus again on being proactive, and asking elected officials for their support.

“The people in our communities are not expendable,” one speaker at the event said.

Hundreds of residents from religious congregations around the Midlands, looking to find solutions for social issues in the area like refining standards of discipline in schools and improving housing options. One woman spoke about the struggle many families have finding a place to live that’s safe and affordable.

“Due to faulty plumbing I had raw sewage leaking in my apartment…this is after the owner had gotten federal funding to rent me the apartment,” speaker Rosanne Kolberg said.

City, county, and school district leaders were in attendance and asked to make a commitment to helping meet some of the goals laid out at tonight’s gathering. District leaders were asked to take recommendations from the event back to their schools.

“We believe that if it’s a non-violent offense if it’s something that’s not related to drugs or weapons, there are other ways to correct the behavior,” said Adam China, a leader with MORE. “Without suspending or expelling students.”

Organizers say they don’t think all of our problems will be fixed in one evening but these congregations are committed to putting in the leg work for the long haul.

This group asked elected officials to promise they would try to find a funding source to kick off a housing trust fund to help families who are having issues finding a home or covering those expenses.

Organizers are asking for leaders to try and find a way to come up with a $2 million down payment for that housing trust fund.

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