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Greenville organizations call for new county commission, social justice

Staff Report //June 2, 2020//

Greenville organizations call for new county commission, social justice

Staff Report //June 2, 2020//

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The Greenville Chamber, Urban League of the Upstate and United Way of Greenville County has called for a countywide commission to help eliminate racial barriers to justice and economic success following the deaths of George Floyd, Breona Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery.

“It is past time for our community to prioritize and expand the dialogue on matters that will make life better for all of our residents, including but not limited to social justice, and disparities in education, health and income,” said the statement. “We believe that in order for that to happen, our communities must be safe, thriving and equitable. All must feel valued and empowered. Our most vulnerable neighbors must have their basic needs met.”

The organizations noted their efforts to promote minority-owned business growth, economic empowerment and educational opportunities helped drive the county toward “prosperity for all citizens” and argued that those efforts aren’t enough to break down racial barriers.

“The racial injustices we've recently seen broadcast in mainstream and social media remind us that diversity, equity and inclusion must not only be championed by the underrepresented (or misrepresented) populations — but by every one of us,” the statement said.

On Monday, the Urban League of the Upstate, city of Greenville, Greenville Police Department, Greenville County Sheriff’s Office and Greenville’s National Association for the Advancement of Colored People held a press conference addressing the protests held across the county throughout the weekend. Three protests were held in downtown Greenville.

During the press conference, Mayor Knox White thanked activists and protest organizers for expressing their outrage — peacefully.

“We’re proud of the people who played a role in making that so,” White said, contrasting Greenville with other cities where protests were muffled by riots and looting of local businesses. He said Greenville demonstrators “expressed their views so strongly and sent their message, made sure their voices were heard, and did so peaceably — because again, that wasn’t always the case.”