In the News
HomeAbout UsProgramsEvents CalendarGalleryContact Us

(Click here to view 2014 recipients)

The 2015 Hyman Rubin Sr. Distinguished Service Award was presented to Senator Lourie and Senator Shealy,  individuals who, by a lifetime of dedicated service to his or her community, best exemplifies the letter and spirit of the Council’s mission.  This award praises the unique character that sets apart these rare individuals among us who, without expectations or reward, pursue the common good and thereby improve the quality of life for the citizens of the Midlands.

The 2015 Milton Kimpson Community Service Award is presented to Coach Dawn Staly, an individual whose impact on the well-being of the community is recognized and regarded with pride. This outstanding citizen is chosen for their exceptional deeds that have served to make the Midlands a better place to live.  

The 2015 Bates-Jones Award honors South Carolina Blue Cross Blue Shield, an organization that has had a positive impact on our community through their leadership in workforce diversity, philanthropic giving and community service.  
The Greater Columbia Community Relations Council (CRC) was established in 1964 as a means of calming racial tensions in the Midlands.  Through the years it has become an organization known for advocating on behalf of all Midlands residents. 

Indeed, there are still many issues that threaten to divide our community. One disturbing trend that has taken on national prominence is incivility. Across our nation people are frustrated with the lack of substantive discussions between groups that do not share the same race, religion, generational or socio-economic background.

This frustration leads to a lack of civility in public discourse and behavior. What starts out as a discussion of the issues often deteriorates into uncivil language or conduct.

CRC recognizes this trend and pledges to continue to act as a calming force, promoting frank and civil discussions of issues that are crucial to maintaining a good quality of life in the Midlands. To this end, we will continue to collaborate with entities in the Midlands to provide forums where differing views and opinions may be heard in a manner that aligns with the CRC's core values of mutual respect and justice for all people. 

"Students for Civility" Day at the Statehouse"
(Click picture to view Civility Pledge)

CRC's Civility Pledge
We must intentionally practice basic civilized discourse.
CRC Grieves With the Members of Emmanuel AME and the People of Charleston...
And the issues raised by these acts go beyond the mere fact of one person’s derangement. If Dylann Storm Roof was indeed the killer, then we know that he traveled from his Columbia home to commit his crimes in a church that has profound meaning in the history of our state, a landmark of tragedy, struggle and hope for African-Americans for the past 200 years. We’ve seen the photographs of the suspect defiantly wearing symbols of white supremacy, and posing on a car with license plates proclaiming “Confederate States of America.” We know what these things mean.

If police have the right man, then his act of domestic terrorism is firmly rooted in the worst elements of our history, in the original sin that after all our best efforts still haunts our nation, our state and our communities.
As these communities struggle to make sense of what happened last night, the conversations will be difficult. They must be conducted with mutual respect and civility, but without shrinking from the truth.

The Community Relations Council, which was founded 50 years ago to help foster just this kind of conversation, stands ready to serve in any way that we can help. — at Emmanuel AME Church Charleston, SC.
CRC'S Race Relations Series
(Click on the picture to view videos)

"The conversations covered problems, either real or perceived, involving relationship between Blacks, Hispanics/Latinos and Whites. “Everyone in the community was invited to participate”, said Henri Baskins, CRC’s executive director. Baskins went on to say, “we're breaking down the barriers that tell us you can’t say that in public. Yes you can! If it is a problem then everyone in the community needs to be a part of solving that problem." 

      Race Relations & Symbolism
L to R:  Dr Todd Shaw, Dr.Percy Mack, Ellen Weaver and 
Senator John Scott
        Race Relations & Politics
L to R:  Hal Stevenson, Atty Reggie Lloyd, Paul White,  Rep Joe Neal & Tige Watts 
           Race Relations & Education
L to R:  Benjamin Washington, Tonya Rodriquez-Hodge,    Dr. John Dozier, Dr Gail Wilson-Giarratano, Bud Ferillo, Kerry Rasberry & Ellen Weaver 
       Race Relations & the Economy    
L to R:  Nelson Lindsay, Lee Catoe, Ryan Coleman, Nate Barber & Matt Kennell 
                   Community Relations ... Everybody's Business
Our Community Partners
The Community Relations Council helps “promote harmony, mutual respect, and justice through dialogue, education, programs, and resources. CRC believes that as a community we need to have discussions around social and political issues that can advance the common good while being civil and respectful toward others. The Community Relations Council held a 4-part Race Relations Series at which community leaders and subject matter experts answered questions and expounded on current race relations issues. 

 The Greater Columbia Community Relations Council joins the good people everywhere across our state who are shocked and saddened by the brutal murders of a pastor and eight members of his congregation as they gathered in peaceful bible study at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston Wednesday night.

Our hearts, our thoughts and our prayers go out to the families and friends of the Rev. Clementa Pinckney and the other innocent victims of this merciless attack.

But as we look with anguish toward the Holy City, we know that this crime strikes at the heart of our own community as well. Not only was Sen. Pinckney a respected member of the Legislature – he had been in the State House the day of the shootings – but the young man accused of these murders is one of our own – a resident of the Midlands, who attended our schools.
Youth Initiative

The condition of our youth is a major concern for CRC. This is especially true as new challenges to acceptable social values and good morals threaten community safety and tranquility. In partnership with SC Primary Health Care Association and Richland County Youth Arbitration Program, CRC's Youth Initiative uses innovative and collaborative programs such as our P.A.C.E. Program to reach youth in school and community center settings. The program and partnerships are intended to enhance self-esteem and positive learning opportunities. The ultimate goal is to assist today’s youth in becoming productive and wholesome citizens in the larger community.

Click here to contact 
DeAnna Bookert, Program Manager 
803 733-1124