The Path to Racial Reconciliation in South Carolina
A Bold Mission
Housed in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, the Collaborative was developed to foster racial reconciliation and civic renewal through on-going dialogues on university campuses, and in communities requesting assistance with problems and issues of race. The Collaborative’s work focuses on inclusiveness and the participation of individuals who are committed to exchanges of personal reflections about race in their lives and the desire to build bridges among participants and, in turn, to bring about effective multi-racial progress.
Based on the highly successful experiences of the prestigious William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation at the University of Mississippi, the South Carolina Collaborative seeks to inspire participants in “Welcome Table” dialogues guided by trained facilitators who help the groups recognize and overcome racial divisions that have hampered unity and social justice.
“Let’s commit to having fruitful and vigorous conversations and forums about the role of our university and our responsibilities as members of its community. To that end, we are launching the South Carolina Collaborative on Race and Reconciliation and its primary program, the Welcome Table SC.”
— President Harris Pastides
How it Works
“Welcome Table dialogues are demand driven by its participants, not through a top down imposition of preconceived notions or ready-made solutions.” The hallmarks of these discussions, usually held monthly, are candor, mutual respect, listening and learning from each other to seek trust and reconciliation based on trust and perseverance. The meetings are held in safe locations and discussions remain confidential. Facilitators take notes to maintain key points and for follow-up needed for Collaborative support between meetings.
How it Succeeds
Out of these conversations, problem-solving strategies arise that enable communities to heal discovered differences and conflicts. Groups work together on practical projects that improve race relations.
Facilitators provide guidance, utilize guideposts for orderly discussions and reflections, and access additional expertise when need to accomplish group goals.
Funding for the Collaborative is based on contributions from philanthropic, religious and business communities and from private individuals.
The Collaborative comes at a critical point in South Carolina’s road to healing wounds of the past and to overcoming apathy and roadblocks of misunderstanding. It offers our beloved state effective keys to greater respect among all its citizens and paths to a more united and hope-filled future.