June 15 Update: Evolving into an anti-racist organization

General News,


As we continue the work to evolve into an anti-racist organization, we wish to let transparency and humility lead the way. We will continue to provide updates on steps taken, goals set and ways you can hold us accountable.


Immediate Actions Taken:


– As a starting place, we held an in-person, socially-distant team conversation last week to begin to identify how we can do better for our black staff, board members, neighbors, and business community. It was facilitated by Renard Harris, Associate VP / Chief Diversity Officer, Office of Institutional Diversity at the College of Charleston.


– We created a forum for staff to share resources, readings, and action steps.


– We encouraged the staff to watch “Reimagining Small Business,” a virtual town hall to listen, learn, and commit to building equitable, anti-racist organizations (view here).


– We closed the office for Juneteenth as an annual paid holiday to offer more time and space for reflection and action.


– We took the time to vote in the state primaries.


– Our staff will continue to be required to attend the YWCA’s Racial Equity Institute Phase I training as part of our on-boarding process. This learning has and will continue to be integral to our understanding of systemic racism, thus enabling our team to identify and respond to our blind spots as individuals and as an organization.


Some of what we will be doing in the future:


– Continue to prioritize listening and learning.


– Use our voice and platforms to better spotlight and fight racial disparities in the business community.


– Lift up and promote black-owned businesses in our community and encourage local purchasing with these businesses.


– Analyze our current membership structure and language to ensure all voices are invited, heard and engaged as we plan our programming and advocacy.


– Commit to increasing the number of black-owned businesses in our community.


And more is to come. We welcome your feedback on these items and ask that you hold us accountable to this work. We will no doubt make mistakes along the way, but imperfect action is better than no action.


Together in this work,


Jamee Haley and the entire staff of Lowcountry Local First