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Living Your Truth Series Returns with Mayors Steve Benjamin and Joe Riley



The Sophia Institute’s Living Your Truth returns on Tuesday, October 19th with a look at social justice and racial equity featuring Columbia mayor Stephen K. Benjamin and former Charleston mayor Joseph P. Riley, Jr.

Dwayne Green will moderate the conversation and invite questions from the audience. The hour and a half program, sponsored by the Social Justice, Racial Equity Collaborative, convened by the Sophia Institute will be held virtually via Zoom. Thanks to community donations, the event is free to attend.

Registration, at The Sophia Institute under events, is requested to help with planning:

Mayor Stephen K. Benjamin 

Steve Benjamin was elected Mayor of Columbia in an April 2010 special election and re-elected  in November 2013. Because he was the only candidate to file, he was automatically re-elected  in November 2017. From May 2018 to July 2019, he served as the President of the United States  Conference of Mayors. He has chosen not to run for re-election this fall. A graduate of  University of South Carolina undergraduate (1991) and law school (1994), Benjamin began  practicing law and was recognized as the National Bar Association Young Lawyer of the Year  in 1999. That same year, he was appointed to Governor Jim Hodges’ cabinet as director of the  Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services, the state’s second largest law  enforcement agency. Throughout his professional and political career, Benjamin has served on  numerous boards for nonprofit organizations such as the Columbia Urban League, Benedict  College, and the Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce. He was a founding board member  of the Eau Claire Promise Zone and Choose Children First. Mayor Benjamin is married to the  Honorable DeAndrea Gist Benjamin. The two are the proud parents of daughters Bethany and  Jordan Grace.

Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr. 

Joe Riley is widely considered one of the most visionary and highly effective governmental  leaders in America. He served ten terms as Mayor of the City of Charleston from 1975 to 2016.  Under his leadership, Charleston increased its commitment to racial harmony and progress,  achieved a substantial decrease in crime, experienced a remarkable revitalization of its historic  downtown business district, supported the creation and growth of Spoleto Festival USA, added  significantly to the City’s park system including the highly celebrated Waterfront Park,  developed nationally acclaimed affordable housing, and experienced unprecedented growth  in Charleston’s size and population. In 2000, he was honored as the first recipient of the Urban  Land Institute’s J. C. Nichols Prize for Visionary Urban Development, and the Arthur J. Clement

Award in Race Relations for his battle to remove the confederate flag from the S.C. Statehouse. Mayor Riley’s current project, the International African American Museum, is the culmination  of his lifelong passion to acknowledge Charleston’s significant role in the slave trade and the  history of this country. It is scheduled to open in fall of 2022.

This is a free event. Registration, at The Sophia Institute under events, is requested to help with  planning


The Social Justice, Racial Equity Collaborative, convened by The Sophia Institute, seeks a just,  sustainable, and thriving community where all people are empowered to fulfill their human  potential. With its 37 member Council and multiple Engagement Partners, the SJRE  Collaborative works from the inside out to recognize a healthy, diverse, and inclusive  community grows out of an acknowledgement of interdependence and shared humanity. By  addressing the challenges that emerge from structural and institutional racism, the SJRE  Collaborative is working to transform Charleston into a more just and equitable place to live,  work, and thrive.

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