Action Oct through end of 2021

Summary, Planning Meeting, 12/14/2021

Adam & Kylon noted how difficult it is to gather faith leaders for a meeting at this time. Perhaps they will try a Zoom meeting.

Noted that the January meeting has been postponed from 1/8/22 but the specific date is not yet decided.

Names from NavCen have not been received. Kylon has other business to discuss with them and will see if names will be forthcoming. The Center is busy prepping Christmas packages for the community. Carolyn suggested that we might include our Christmas card in the packages that NavCen puts together. It was agreed that is a good idea. Kylon will ask for how many cards are needed.

It was agreed to postpone the next planning session for January 4, 2022. The next Bible study will be this week, 12/16/2021, but will break for Christmas to return on January 6, 2022.

With respect, Sandi

Summary, Planning Meeting, 11/23/2021

Kylon & Linda visited the Navigation Center, a center with a line of communication already established with 1200 families in Eastside, with programs for homeless, women in need. Phone or email communication. Partnering with Mt. Zion. Carolyn cautioned about rumors that Kylon will explore.

Adam to meet with Rev Matthew Rivers at St Johns.

Micah Project will send Christmas cards to families in Eastside, when list from Navigation Center is available.

Potential name for January meeting: Micah Projects CONNECTS Faith and Blue.

Public safety will continue to be the theme for Micah Project activities.

Discussed a compilation of videos to facilitate community building. Kylon will include young people who may facilitate efforts.

January 8 is likely too early, still, so potential re-schedule date is January 15th. Still under consideration.

I heard something about a group called "Hand me down" but I didn't capture what or why it was mentioned. Clarification will be appreciated.

Laura's research on the summer pilgrimage is approved with caveat to tailor more to Charleston (SC) needs. Linda will be Mt Zion contact for the project.

With respect, Sandi

Summary, Planning Meeting, 11/23/2021

Hi, friends,

The discussion focused on what would the Micah Project do next. Though we wanted to do something in December, the consensus was to delay until January 8, a nearly Epiphany celebration. The group agreed that January 8 would permit more planning time and help avoid the usual crush of Christmas activities.

Adam offered that whatever we do needs to be regular so trust can be developed. Weather permitting, the group felt a mid-afternoon "bazaar" in Martin Park would serve our current purposes best. Adam and Kylon to talk with Rivers at St. John to bounce ideas around. We would also seek guidance from Gamble and/or Matthews. Deputy Chief Smith has offered counseling groups. Group members are reaching out to faith leaders (not senior pastors only) and to law enforcement to join on January 8th. All are to be considering the name of the January 8 Bazaar. The Micah Project needs to have handouts available.

We learned some of the history of involvement with the Eastside and how important that our commitment is strong and consistent.

There is potential for The Micah Project to walk with the Emancipation Proclamation Parade on January 1, 2022.

With respect, Sandi

Summary, Public Safety Luncheon, 11/16/2021

An excellent luncheon with very interesting discussion. Highlights are:

  • Adam—Welcome and food blessing

  • Kylon—"Let's get started and around the room self-introductions

  • Latonya: Our community is divided. My principal focus is "Save the children"

    • Fights are increasing in neighborhoods (buses, schools, community)

    • Drugs (heroin & fentanyl) & gangs

    • SROs—infraction leads to record which is seen by colleges

    • ECDC—reaching young people; perhaps testimonials next lunch

  • Sheila: residents may not be able to stay in Eastside

  • Barbara: When do they age out?

  • Latonya: 15-16 years old

  • Liz: What are the parents doing before SROs are issued? It is parents' responsibility to keep young people from getting SROs.

  • Latonya: The problem is bigger. Parents are in a difficult situation; many can't read.

  • Liz: Parents need to keep children from problematic situations.

  • Kylon: This is a crisis. Parents are ill-equipped to have children.

  • Latonya: We had a "Stop the Violence" program that yielded heart-breaking stories of the lives of the Eastside children. Pandemic has hampered the program's continuance.

  • Joyce: We are working to build the relationships with the community. We believe that strong relationship between law enforcement persons and community members is extremely important. SROs have been misused: intent was to be issued for persons who are not supposed to be on school campus. Law enforcement is reining in misuse. Law enforcement wants people to feel safe and can "hear" what is needed when law enforcement is present in the community. Hearts and minds need to be open to address problems that arise when crimes (drug use or sales) are corrected by law enforcement.

  • Charles: echo what Joyce is saying. We had communication through weekly meetings to bounce ideas around the table. It's difficult for a parent to stop a child's drug sales when those sales are paying for household necessities.

  • Kylon: I grew up in Eastside and people there protected us. Focusing on "Community is divided", something needs to be done for children in next 90 days.

  • Charles: GEDs would help.

  • Adam: described the Peace Walk. Perhaps we need an Eastside Walk, with appropriate handouts, that culminates at a central site.

  • Latonya: Do the walk and talk to people along the way. Handouts about mental health and drugs.

  • Joyce: set partnerships in place to provide relief, foster trust, build relationships.

  • Adam to Charles: Can Beard's chapel hold a crowd this large?

  • Sonya: St. John's Chapel could host them. It's important to be able to "see" where we want to go so we can "plan" how to get there.

  • Adam: Thanked all for attendance and dismissed the group.

Attending the luncheon

Alston, Liz
Berkaw, Mary Neale
Buncum, Sonya
Chisolm-Haynes, Linda
Ewig, Judith
Gamble, Latonya
Fields, Sheila
McLemore, Charles
Middleton, Kylon
Mitchell, Robert
Pace, Barbara
Rezac, Laura
Shoemaker, Adam
Sills, Fran
Smellie, Susan Joy
Smith, Joyce
Teel, Sandi
Wright-Porcher, Carolyn

Those willing are added to the Micah Project mailing list.

Rev. Kylon Middleton, Mt. Zion AME, getting the discussion underway.

Latonya Gamble (seated 2nd from left) and Sheila Fields (3rd from left) from the Eastside Development Center and Deputy Chief Joyce Smith (standing), Charleston County Sheriff's Department.

Liz Alston (seated); Rev. Charles McLemore (standing), Greater Beard AME.

Ambassador Sonya Buncum, Coastal Crisis Chaplaincy

Summary of luncheon setup, 11/15/2021

Trojans showed up today to get the meeting place in order. Thank you to Barbara Pace, Rebecca Byrd, and Fran Sills. For hard work today; to Fr. Adam for hard work yesterday; and to Amanda Rucker (St. Stephen's parish secretary) for her many answers and other help. Here are some photos.


Summary of planning meeting, 11/09/2021

This is the time for the last minute things. You have all been Trojans and I appreciate all you have done. Here's my list of things:

  1. Setup for luncheon: 1 p.m. on Monday, meet in the classroom at St. Stephen's, Setup & arrange room

    • All hands on table setup

    • All engage in wiping down spaces for sanitation purposes

    • Rebecca to "beautify" the room with crafty arrangements; Rebecca—are you bringing tablecloths?

    • Fran to assume Lyn's roles

    • Hang a few Micah Project peace walk signs; remainder use for directional signage

    • Table cards, business cards ready

    • Welcome table materials ready (registration sheet, name tags, lanyards, hand sanitizer, small trash can with liner)

    • Agenda—still in development

    • Setup easel, paper, pens, mic, mic stand, amp for speakers

  2. Welcome/greeters

    • Kylon and Judith to greet guests along the street in front of St. Stephen's and direct them to the classroom

    • Directional signs in St. Stephen's yard to point the way to the classroom

    • will incorporate some of the Peace Walk signs as directional signs

  3. Day of luncheon

    • Barbara to be present at 9:30 to receive food from caterer.

    • All consider arriving by 10:30 for last minute arranging and helping

    • Welcome table to receive by 11:15 a.m.

    • Small coat rack in extra room (beside bathroom)

      • If it's cold enough for coats, consider leaving yours in your car as this coat rack is very small

    • All serve as Micah Project ambassadors

    • All who can stay after to clean up (I'm bringing cleaning supplies but have no good size, sturdy trash bags).

As I said earlier, you've been Trojans: keep it up.

Summary of planning meeting, 11/02/2021

We nailed down particulars for the luncheon on November 16th, 11:30 am to 1 pm with the following results. Be sure to read "Yikes!" below.

  1. NAME. "Chat & Chew" did not pass muster so name was changed to "Public Safety Luncheon". Kylon reports that about 10 law enforcement folks are already confirmed

  2. Invitations: Julie has crafted an invitation. Kylon will get names to her so invitations sent quickly.

    1. St. Stephen's will host the luncheon in its newly-renovated classroom.

  3. Meal: Barbara is on it with the caterer Damon Drayton who will provide food (fish, chicken, rice, green vegetable, mac & cheese, side salad, drink and dessert) and eating materials. The caterer will arrive at St. Stephen's at 9:30 am to set up. Micah Project planning members are invited to luncheon too.

  4. Table setup: Adam said he's it for table setup so Lyn will assist. The arrangement will be without a head table, as close to a "round" or "single" table as is feasible in the space. There will need to be a food table, either on the way into the classroom or at one end. There needs to be a welcome table on the way into the classroom.

  5. Welcome table: Susan Joy and Carolyn will serve as hosts. They will get hand sanitizer & box of masks for the table & pens. Sandi will provide name tag materials.

  6. Eating space: Lyn and Rebecca will "arrange" the tables (checking with Amanda Rucker, St Stephen's parish administrator to determine number of tablecloths). Sandi will provide Micah Project materials for the tables. (Magi: I had put you on eating space duties but had not confirmed with you. I'm sure Lyn & Rebecca could use assistance.)

  7. Agenda: Greg is on it, getting particulars from Kylon and Adam.

  8. In my opinion, as many as possible need to be present early (say 11 am) to assist as is needed. Barbara, I assume you will be there at 9:30 to greet caterer, right?

Yikes! I overlooked a most important component—Cleanup. I thought we might put a big trash can near the eating space so eating materials could just be dropped in. However, I think it would be tough to muscle a big trash can down the stairs SO . . . how about sturdy trash bags? Lyn & Rebecca, can you arrange for sturdy trash bags? There needs to be a cleanup crew—clear tables, put away leftovers (need storage containers for leftovers), dismantle tables, put room back in order, etc. I think we should all do this but we need supplies. Do I hear a volunteer for supplies like cleaning gloves, Clorox or other spray, storage containers for the leftovers, other things you think of?

Summary of planning meeting, 10/26/2021

Pastor Kylon, Fr. Adam, Linda (Chisohm-Haynes), and Julie (Hussey) met with Latonya Gamble and the Eastside Development Center on Monday, October 25th. Pastor Kylon gave an overview of the meeting.

  • Gamble and ESDC want to partner with The Micah Project Group.

    • Pastor Kylon wants us to build trust with and in the community.

    • We need to identify what is/will be our commitment. No commitment made without this meeting.

  • There are many needs.

    • Rental assistance programs: available through community assistance and the Housing Authority but no one seems to hear the impacts.

    • Housing/Moving programs: residents unable to afford to move, awarded grant to assist in the move, cannot find adequate/suitable "move to" locations, then evicted.

    • Ports Authority: the direction that the port will be expanding is into the Eastside. There are "opportunity zones" that are being overtaken by white owners.

    • Violence: there is gun violence, some of which results in death of residents. A pathway for peace needs to be created. Gun reform is needed.

    • Education: young people need assistance to bring them to the right level. A digital lab has been developed for their use. Reading level assistance is needed.

    • Education: children need early childhood education. The school district does not provide for Eastside.

Barbara Pace: Can government representatives take services and assistance to Eastside? Answer: Yes. The traditional location is the library in the area. It is currently active to include COVID testing kits.

Programs for gun violence require police support. ESDC's previous program has dried up.

There is no grocery store within walking distance so there is a food desert. The nearby influx of white residents will likely change this picture.

Barbara: Can't the empty school be used for government offices? Answer: It has been done in other areas. The school district would have to release the school and government agencies would have to mann offices.

Barbara: Can't the Reading Partners group provide the education assistance? Answer: Reading Partners is in the schools already. The problem is a bit larger because educational efforts (including reading) have to come from the home/parents as well.

Adam, to Kylon: Where do you think our efforts should be directed?

Kylon—three venues

  1. Community Safety: we can bring groups together to bring greater safety to the community. We can run a "turn in your guns" program.

  2. Housing stability: some available programs relieve residents of their deeds in order to provide services. There are undesignated county funds that can be used on the proviso that the upgrades in the homes are not used to flip homes. Rent assistance is not going to the people with the greatest need.

  3. Ports Authority: ESDC does not have a voice at the table. The Micah Project can advocate for ESDC. Julie added that ESDC is much more than a neighborhood association and thus needs a voice.

Carolyn notes that there should not be two neighborhood associations as it makes negotiations difficult.

Rebecca Byrd mentioned that the CPA of CAJM just settled on Care for Creation as its upcoming focus.

General discussion that having faith leaders come together to discuss some of these issues will likely encourage their participation. We are planning a "Faith Leaders & Law Enforcement Chat & Chew" on November 16, from 11:30 am to 1 pm. Members of The Micah Project will plan the lunch.

Summary of planning meeting, 10/19/2021

There will be a meeting with Latoya Gamble and others from the Eastside Development Center ( at 10:30 a.m. on Monday, October 25 (corner of Amhurst & America). Pastor Kylon, Fr Adam, and Julie Hussey will attend the meeting. The purpose will be to develop a concept of what it will be for the Eastside to be an Engagement & Empowerment community initiative for The Micah Project.

Julie Hussey raised issue that an Islamic leader Mohammed is interested in publishing a newsletter. Julie expressed her concern that trying to facilitate this at the same time as working with Gamble might dilute both and work at cross purposes.

Fr. Adam presented concept that St. Stephen's is developing plans for a pilgrimage through the South, tracing Martin Luther King, Jr.'s steps and including a stop at The Lynching Museum. Fr. Adam noted this could become a Micah Project event. Mother Laura added that several new St. Stephen's parishioners (The Sills) bring a planning guide to the discussion. Lyn Smith noted that Nancy Muller and Warren Mersereau have also developed and completed a similar pilgrimage.

Sandi to freshen and update the website.

Susan Joy Smellie suggests we may wish to have a joint worship service and hand out prayer booklets. Sandi noted we could may the prayer booklets virtual.

Fr. Adam suggested we target the new year with Eastside to coincide with the new liturgical year Advent 2021.