WHAT IS THE REEM COMMISSION’S MISSION STATEMENT?
To develop strategies and partnerships that eradicate race-based disparities and inequities impacting the Black community in Greenville County.
WHAT IS THE REEM COMMISSION’S VISION STATEMENT?
A Greenville County where racial equity is absolute and prosperity is accessible for all in the Black community.
WHY DOES THE REEM COMMISSION FOCUS ONLY ON THE “BLACK COMMUNITY”? SHOULDN’T “RACIAL EQUITY” ENCOMPASS ALL RACES OR PEOPLE OF COLOR?
The release of United Way’s Racial Equity Index in 2019 gave insights into the inequities that exist across varying sectors of Greenville County. Upon the murder of George Floyd and resurgance of the Black Lives Matter movement across the US, the United Way, Urban League of the Upstate and Greenville Chamber came together to leverage this data toward building solutions for the Black population in our community. It was with this heightened sense of urgency and renewed passion that the REEM Commission was formed to specifically address the historical, systemic, and ongoing inequities and disparities affecting Black people in Greenville County.
From the Middle Passage’s trafficking of enslaved Africans to America, to the Upstate’s specific and historically recent slave ownership, to the disproportionate police brutality and shooting of black people in South Carolina—the REEM Commission’s focus on the Black community in Greenville County is neither arbitrary nor taken on lightly.
This focus does not disparage issues affecting other races or people of color; rather, it focuses on a specific, timely, and urgent need to address issues affecting the Black community in particular.
AFTER FOCUSING ON THE IMPACT ON THE BLACK COMMUNITY, WILL THE REEM COMMISSION EVER EXPAND TO INCLUDE OTHER RACES OR PEOPLE OF COLOR?
We recognize that the work at hand encompasses 400+ years of systemic inequities that have compounded challenges extending to all areas of life within our community for Black people. As our vision states, our goal is “A Greenville County where racial equity is absolute and prosperity is accessible for all in the Black community” and as such our focus will remain on the Black Community until we feel we’re able to expand without losing focus on the issues at hand.
THE REEM COMMISSION’S MISSION AND VISION STATEMENTS MENTION “THE BLACK COMMUNITY”; DOES THIS REFER TO SPECIFIC GEOGRAPHIC COMMUNITIES/NEIGHBORHOODS?
No; “the Black community” refers collectively to all Black people in Greenville County.
THE REEM COMMISSION’S MISSION AND VISION STATEMENTS USE LANGUAGE SUCH AS “ERADICATE” AND “ABSOLUTE”—IS THIS WORDING REALISTIC? WOULD LESS “ABSOLUTE” LANGUAGE (SUCH AS “WORK TOWARD” OR “REDUCE”) BE MORE HELPFUL?
The REEM Leadership team considered the language carefully and received feedback from Commissioners at large. The language was chosen to be bold and aspirational in order to demand change.
The language confronts the listener or reader and frames the significant efforts and solutions needed to tackle the challenges ahead.
HOW CAN I LEARN MORE—NOT JUST ABOUT REEM’S EFFORTS, BUT ABOUT SYSTEMIC RACISM, SIMILAR MOVEMENTS, HISTORY, AND MORE?
Part of the REEM Commission’s work is to foster community-wide learning. www.REEMgvl.org is the best place to keep an eye on these forthcoming resources, social media accounts, and educational references.
THE REEM COMMISSION’S MISSION STATES THAT IT WILL DEVELOP “STRATEGIES AND PARTNERSHIPS”; WHAT DOES THIS LOOK LIKE?
In part, this will be addressed in the public recommendations and reports that the REEM Commission will publish in December 2021.
However, individuals, businesses, or organizations interested in being involved in strategies and partnerships may contact REEM Leadership to explore opportunities.
WHAT IS THE FUTURE OF THE REEM COMMISSION? IS THIS AN ONGOING OR SHORT-TERM EFFORT?
The REEM Commission was formed to start a renewed, multilateral effort to actively promote racial equity and economic mobility for Greenville County’s Black community. Just as systemic racism and the toxic effects of slavery have formed over generations, the work to dismantle these inequities and heal will also be generational. This is not “short-term” work.
As mentioned in the mission statement, the REEM Commission’s purpose is to “develop strategies and partnerships that eradicate race-based disparities and inequities impacting the Black community in Greenville County.” REEM has been established to ignite generational change that will live on in these strategies and partnerships even if (or when) the REEM Commission itself has concluded as an entity.
HOW CAN I GET INVOLVED IN THE WORK THAT THE REEM COMMISSION IS DOING?
While our work is constantly evolving, we plan to bring the community and various partners along in the process. Whether financially through sponsorships, through learning opportunities or direct service initiatives, if you feel you can contribute to this work, please reach out to the REEM Commission at: firstname.lastname@example.org.