Building Local Prosperity Week: Mika Gadsden



“Moving here to Charleston as a sophomore in high school was a pivotal moment for me. As someone who was born and raised primarily in the Northeast, the Holy City didn’t always feel like home to me, especially as a teenager. Not only did I have to adjust to new surroundings, but, I had to reconcile with what many knew and know all too well. This city that I now call home has be reluctant to face its past and to address its grim history. Though I didn’t have the word power to articulate what it was that I felt as a student here in Charleston, today, I feel as if I have been called to use my voice to speak up and out about the systemic issues plaguing our city. My work is using my voice, I am an activist. Proudly.


I literally did two things when I relocated to Charleston nearly 5 years ago: Register to vote and explore the membership options at Local Works. I wasn’t exactly sure what I was going to do professionally, but, I knew I wanted to work in a space where other creatives and start-ups were thriving. I wanted to spend my time working at a place that was a departure from what I had grown accustomed to in my past professional life. What sold me on Local Works was the mission of Lowcountry Local First and its efforts that support local, homegrown businesses. Commitment to community is extremely important to me.


Prosperity to me looks like equity and dismantling the very systems that continue to keep specific communities living on the margins. Prosperity would mean equal access to affordable housing, more locally owned businesses thriving in Charleston, being able to find fresh produce and groceries on the peninsula. Prosperity means every citizen of Charleston being able to live, grow and work without fear of displacement or disenfranchisement. But we can’t work toward prosperity without first confronting the very things that brought us to this moment we are now living in.”

– Mika Gadsden, Charleston Activist Network, Local Works community member



At Lowcountry Local First we are building an economy that is anchored in local ownership, because we believe that local-independent businesses are the cornerstone of our culture, economy and character. We are the on-the-ground advocate working around-the-clock for our homegrown businesses – ultimately shaping the community we want.

Will you help us to continue to build local prosperity? Will you choose the Lowcountry?