By Destiny Kennedy, Live 5 News

Hundreds of people packed into Mt. Moriah Missionary Baptist Church for the annual Nehemiah Action assembly on Monday night.

Community members, organizers and elected officials came together for the event hosted by the Charleston Area Justice Ministry. This year was the 12th year of the group addressing education, affordable housing and reducing racial bias in policing.

Because of the Charleston Area Justice Ministry’s efforts, both the Charleston and the North Charleston Police Departments have undergone racial bias audits.

Officials said the next step in this initiative is to have law enforcement engage the community by being transparent and creating a dialogue, as well as data collection and independent monitoring to continue elevating this issue.

CAJM also celebrated Charleston County Council’s decision to allocate $4.15 million in accommodation tax revenues toward an affordable housing trust fund, an effort that the organization’s Housing Committee has advocated for over the past six years.

Organizers addressed restorative practices in Charleston County School District which helps to minimize suspensions.

Community members also shared their concerns about the development of Gadsden Creek. They asked those who were at the gathering to join them in saving the area from the “profit-driven destruction.”

The community is hosting an Earth Day clean-up on April 22 from 3-4:30 p.m. to help aid in the preservation of the area.

These initiatives are all a part of the organization’s action plan.

Rev. Dr. Adam Shoemaker, co-president of CAJM and rector of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, said there is strength in numbers.

“It’s our hope to make those numbers go higher because we believe that people power can help hold our public official accountable when we bring them in for these public negotiations.”

Organizers encouraged community members to get involved and share their concerns.

In the Fall, the multifaith, multicultural coalition of 40 congregations will host house meetings to engage the public.

The members will then come together in an assembly and take a vote on a select number of issues highlighted in those house meetings which is how CAJM decides what new issues they will take on.

To stay updated on those meetings organizers ask the public to visit the CAJM website for updates.

Mayor William Cogswell was invited but was not able to attend.

CAJM organizers plan to meet with Cogswell in May to present their updated research to continue to foster change and equity.

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