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Columbia International Festival Set to Return May 21st and 22nd

The 27th Annual Columbia International Festival returns to the South Carolina State Fairgrounds beginning Saturday, May 22 to showcase the state’s multicultural community through food, music, performing arts, and more!

Since 1996, the Columbia International Festival has celebrated various cultures, nationalities, language groups and more with tens of thousands of people in attendance. More than 100 cultures from around the world are represented at the annual, family-friendly event.

“It’s the largest gathering of its kind in the state and probably the Southeast region,” said Columbia International Festival Director Dr. Raj Aluri. “The festival is the perfect way for people to travel the world and experience rich, diverse traditions without using a passport.”

This year, festival organizers will highlight Asia and the Pacific Islands in recognition of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Ukraine will return as one of the featured national exhibitors and performances on the stage.

The two-day festival attractions include:

  • International Food Court - Sample the exotic flavors of foreign cuisines from around the world (Saturday & Sunday).
  • Cultural Entertainment – Cultural groups representing many countries will perform on the festival stage.
  • International Fashion Show - See beautiful traditional clothing that distinguish cultures from around the globe.
  • International Bazaar - Shop for authentic clothing, crafts, jewelry, and souvenirs imported from a wide variety of nations.
  • Cultural Demonstrations – Learn something new – make origami, use chopsticks, write in another script, and more.
  • Parade of Nations - Watch traditionally dressed representatives proudly present their home countries’ flags during the annual parade on Saturday at 2 p.m.

Admission is $7 for ages 18 and older. A $2 coupon is available online at www.cifonline.org for adult ticket purchases. Children under 18 receive free admission. All military personnel receive free admission with a military ID.

Parents and adult siblings of students attending all Title 1 schools will be admitted for free with the student’s admission to the Columbia International Festival.

For more information about the Columbia International Festival, visit cifonline.org.

About the Columbia International Festival

The Columbia International Festival showcases the music, culture, food, and performing arts of the various cultures, nationalities, races, and language groups represented in South Carolina. Since 1996, the event has brought together all of the area's international communities to build better relations between various groups and with the South Carolina community at large. For more information, visit www.cifonline.org.

Congratulations to Denmark Tech President Dr. Willie L. Todd Jr. for Being Named South Carolina Association of Technical College Commissioners CEO of the Year 

Denmark Technical College President and CEO Dr. Willie L. Todd Jr. has been named the 2022 CEO of the Year by the South Carolina Association of Technical College Commissioners.

The award, which recognizes the tremendous services of and contributions made by a technical or community college chief executive officer, is given on an annual basis. Recipients are chosen from nominations made by the area commissioners from the 16 colleges that make up the South Carolina Technical College System.  

“It is clear that Dr. Todd has helped Denmark Technical College not only survive but thrive since his arrival in January 2020.  We now know how truly hard the job was during that time for any seasoned college president, but particularly difficult for a president new to our system as a whole,” said Ashley Jaillette, executive director of the South Carolina Association of Technical College Commissioners.  
 
Todd assumed the helm of Denmark Technical College on January 13, 2020 after serving as the vice president of academic affairs and student services at the college. Under Todd’s leadership, Denmark Technical College has reemerged as a leader in higher education for the residents of Allendale, Bamberg and Barnwell counties.  

In his brief time as president and CEO, he has made tremendous strides across all areas of the college including sweeping facility and technology improvements, placing a focus on curriculum and academics, fortifying technology programs, building capacity for a thriving student affairs division, rebuilding the DTC brand and creating a strategic plan along with a ten-year master plan that will guide the college through the next decade.  

“With so many challenges facing Denmark Tech, we needed the vision of a strong leader who would address the challenges and move the college forward with immediate resolve. Dr. Todd exceeded the expectations as a resolute leader, with his swift and laser-like approach. His vision, tenacity, dedication and passion for excellence are among the reasons the Denmark Technical College Area Commission nominated him for South Carolina Association of Technical College Commissioners CEO of the Year,” said James W. Bowden, Denmark Technical College area commissioner.   
 
Todd has nearly three-decades’ experience in higher education where he has intentionally spent his professional career serving HBCUs. He holds a Doctor of Philosophy degree in English from Georgia State University, a Master of Education in higher education administration from Regent University and a Master of Education in English education, as well as a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Albany State University.  
 
Todd has received numerous awards across his career including the 2021 Shining Star Award from the South Carolina Commission for Minority Affairs and several national awards from Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. He is a national award-winning playwright and has received local, regional and national awards for teaching excellence and creativity. 

"I'm humbled and honored to receive this recognition. This award is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the Denmark Technical College team who devotes countless hours to keep the college forging onward," said Todd.


Celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in May / SCCMA to Highlight AAPI Culture, History and Community Leaders

Governor Henry McMaster proclaimed May 2022 as “Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month” and May 27th as “Asian American and Pacific Islander Business Day”. Thus, in recognition of AAPI Heritage Month, the South Carolina Commission for Minority Affairs will honor and celebrate the over 93,000 AAPI residents who call South Carolina home through its “Spring into AAPI Heritage Month” social media campaign.

Since 2000, South Carolina's Asian American and Pacific Islander (AA/PI) populations have increased dramatically, and the impact of AAPI communities on the state has been considerable. The contributions of these cultures to enriching the diversity of South Carolina are as varied as the cultures and ethnicities themselves. 

To commemorate the month, the Commission will highlight countries with the highest percentage of its descendants calling the state home. The Commission will also recognize four citizens that have made exceptional strides for the state’s AAPI communities, including:

  • Dr. Seulghee Lee, Assistant Professor of African American and Afro-Asian Studies at the University of South Carolina
  • Mr. Jimmy Chao, President and Chief Engineer at Chao and Associates, Inc.
  • Ms. Christina Tien, a senior attending the University of South Carolina-Columbia and founding member of the university’s first Asian interest sorority, Alpha Sigma Rho.
  • Dr. Aditi Bussells, the first South Asian woman elected to the Columbia City Council.

Follow the Commission for Minority Affairs’ social media accounts to join in the celebration of the AAPI community in South Carolina.

SCCMA Social Media Accounts to Follow

Facebook: @southcarolinaminorityaffairs

Instagram: @sccfma

YouTube: South Carolina Commission for Minority Affairs

For more information about the AAPI Heritage Month social media campaign, contact Alex Tovar at 803-832-8298 or visit cma.sc.gov.

SBA South Carolina Announces 2022 National Small Business Week Winners

The SBA South Carolina District Office has selected the 2022 National Small Business Week winners for state. Click to view the full list of winners of the 2022 South Carolina National Small Business Week Awards.

SC Latinx Student Summit at Coastal Carolina University Postponed

The South Carolina Latinx Student Summit scheduled for Thursday, April 28 at Coastal Carolina University has been postponed and will be rescheduled for a later date.  

The Latinx Student Summit is an initiative of the South Carolina Commission for Minority Affair’s Pathways for Latinos to Advance Career and Education (PLACE) Program. PLACE is designed to connect educators, professionals, and community organizations to Latinx students and young professionals across the state.

To receive information about upcoming events, subscribe to the Commission for Minority Affairs News Network by visiting https://bit.ly/sccmanewsnetwork.

New Research Briefs Available: Gender Pay Wage Gap By State and African American Representation in Health Care: Racial Disparities within the State's Healthcare Workforce 

In recognition of Women's History Month, Social Science Research Analyst Ashley Hanna-Williams discusses the difference between median earnings for men and women who worked full-time between 2015 through 2019. Click to view the brief.

In African American Representation in Health Care: Racial Disparities within the State's Healthcare Workforce, Hanna-Williams provides a brief overview of African American representation within the state's healthcare system. Data originated from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey One-Year and Five-Year Estimates. This information has been presented publicly at the South Carolina Commission for Minority Affairs Black History Month Celebration on February 10, 2022. (Click to view the brief.)

Each month, the division will release a Research Brief which provides a snapshot of the latest analysis of topics that are of interest to policymakers, practitioners, researchers, government agencies, colleges/universities and the general public. To view previous briefs and reports, visit https://cma.sc.gov/research.

Access to Capital Webinar

The South Carolina Commission for Minority Affairs hosted a free Access to Capital webinar on March 30 to provide small business owners and entrepreneurs with information to help them in obtaining the capital needed to start, grow, and expand their business. The entire webinar can be viewed on our YouTube channel. 

In this session, participants will gain insight from business experts on how to secure the financial resources needed to achieve their business goals.

Experts include:

  • Frank Anderson, U.S. Small Business Administration-South Carolina
  • Marvin Wilson, Lendio Capital Charlotte
  • Paul Schmitt, Community Works
  • Cindi Rourk, CLIMB Fund

For more information, contact Anthony Brockington, Program Manager for SCCMA’s Small & Minority Business Division, at 803-832-8165 or abrockington@cma.sc.gov.

SCCMA, UofSC LASO Partnered to Host Second Latinx Student Summit 

Our second Latinx Student Summit was held at the University of South Carolina's Russell House Ballroom on Wednesday, March 16, 2022.

Dr. Silvino Escareno, CEO and founder of ITCED51, and CEO and president of LATAM Foundation, was the keynote speaker. To view the full 

The SC Latinx Student Summit is an initiative of the Commission’s Pathways for Latinos to Advance Career and Education (PLACE) Program. PLACE creates a network of Latinx students, young professionals, educators, and community organizations to share available resources and cultivate a sense of pride and belonging amongst South Carolina’s Latinx youth.

To learn more about the SCCMA’s Hispanic/Latino Affairs Division, visit: https://cma.sc.gov/minori.../hispaniclatino-affairs-division.

Spring 2022 Native American Studies Center Newsletter

Some of the highlights from this issue include a new exhibit in the Duke Energy Gallery, upcoming events, and information on a Donnelley Foundation Grant. 

To download your free newsletter, please visit the Native American Studies Center Facebook page.

NRCS South Carolina Offers Assistance with Community Gardens Through SC Food Connection Project

As part of the National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) efforts to assist with addressing food insecurities, NRCS South Carolina has established the South Carolina Food Connection Project. This project allows both urban and rural communities an opportunity to apply for cooperative agreements to establish community gardens within low income and food desert locations across the state.

Food insecurity is a growing problem within areas of South Carolina, in part due to the multitude of food deserts in our communities. Food deserts, or low food access areas, are defined by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) as “regions of the country that often feature large proportions of households with low incomes, inadequate access to transportation and a limited number of food retailers providing fresh produce and healthy groceries for affordable prices.”

In many cases convenience stores have become the primary local option for food shopping, making it nearly impossible to put together meals that include healthy, fresh ingredients.

Several South Carolina cities have worked to address the issues of food deserts. During FY 2021, NRCS South Carolina funded 32 community gardens through collaborative agreements in the amount of nearly $2 Million dollars.

If your organization is interested in establishing a community garden under the SC Food Connection project, contact Lavetta Blair at 803-253-3970 or email Lavetta.Blair@usda.gov.

Research Brief: Asian American and Pacific Islanders in South Carolina

Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) are the third largest minority ethnic group in South Carolina. However, due to cultural, national, and linguistic differences, the pan-ethnic label "AAPI" obscures more than it reveals. This brief, prepared by Research Director Dr. Robert P. Fenton, examines data on national origins and geographical dispersal amongst the AAPI community in South Carolina.

To view the latest brief, click here.

Research Brief: Hispanic/Latinos: National Origins, Citizenship Status and Income

The Research and Planning Division has released it's second Research Brief on Hispanic/Latinos: National Origins, Citizenship Status and Income. The report provides pertinent data on the state's growing Hispanic/Latino community, particularly around the issue of citizenship and income. 

To view the latest brief, click here.

Each month, the division will release a Research Brief which provides a snapshot of the latest analysis of topics that are of interest to policymakers, practitioners, researchers, government agencies, colleges/universities and the general public. To view previous briefs and reports, visit https://cma.sc.gov/research.

SCCMA Advisory Committee Meetings

The South Carolina Commission for Minority Affairs will hold the following virtual Advisory Committee meetings:

  • Native American Affairs Advisory Committee, Saturday, January 22, 2022 (AGENDA(RECORDING)
  • Asian American/Pacific Islander Affairs Advisory Committee, Tuesday, January 25, 2022  (AGENDA) (RECORDING)
  • African American Affairs Advisory Committee, Wednesday, January 26, 2022  (AGENDA) (RECORDING)
  • Hispanic/Latino Affairs Advisory Committee, Tuesday, February 1 (AGENDA) (RECORDING)
  • Small Business Advisory Committee, Wednesday, February 2 (AGENDA) (RECORDING)

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the meetings will be streamed live via the Commission’s YouTube page (https://www.youtube.com/c/SCCommissionforMinorityAffairs).

Those who wish to participate in the public input portion of the meeting should email your comments to info@cma.sc.gov. Comments must be received no later than noon on the day of the scheduled meeting. Please include the following information when submitting public comment:

  • Name
  • Phone Number
  • Date of Meeting
  • Meeting Name
  • Agenda Item
  • Comment (500 words or less)

For more information, contact the SC Commission for Minority Affairs at 803-333-9621 or info@cma.sc.gov.

SC Commission for Minority Affairs to Host Black History Month Celebration Honoring Healthcare Professionals

The South Carolina Commission for Minority Affairs (SCCMA) will celebrate Black History Month by recognizing the contributions of African Americans in healthcare and wellness through its annual celebration and month-long social media campaign.

This year’s national Black History Month theme, “Black Health and Wellness,” acknowledges the legacy of Black medical and public health professionals, and health care scholars and practitioners. The Commission for Minority Affairs will highlight leaders across the state for their strong commitment to advancing and/or supporting the health and wellness of residents in the state.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the in-person Black History Month Celebration luncheon scheduled for Thursday, February 10 at 11 a.m. will be streamed live via the Commission’s Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/southcarolinaminorityaffairs). The luncheon is limited to invited guests only due to COVID-19 safety protocols.

Dr. Thaddeus J. Bell, family physician and founder of the nonprofit Closing the Gap in Health Care, Inc., will be the keynote speaker. The annual celebration will also include a statistical data presentation from the Commission for Minority Affairs’ Social Science Research Analyst Ashley Hanna-Williams. SCCMA Executive Director Dr. Delores Dacosta will serve as the mistress of ceremonies. 

The mission of Closing the Gap in Health Care, Inc. (CTGIHC) is to decrease health disparities and increase health literacy among underserved African American and under-served communities in the SC. For more than 15 years, the organization has provided health education and programs that promote wellness and healthy lifestyles.

This year’s award recipients will include State Epidemiologist Dr. Linda Bell; primary care physician Dr. Winston McIver Jr.; Dolores B. Scott, director of Hold Out the Lifeline: A Mission to Families; and Florence businessman Tim Waters (Save a Lot).

For more information, contact Cynthia Haddad, African American Affairs Program Manager, at 803-995-8553 or email chaddad@cma.sc.gov.

Research Brief: Minority Homeownership in South Carolina

The Research and Planning Division has released it's first Research Brief on Minority Homeownership in South Carolina. The report provides a brief overview of South Carolina's minority homeownership figures and trends for the past decade.

To view the report, visit https://cma.sc.gov/research.

Each month, the division will release a Research Brief which provides a snapshot of the latest analysis of topics that are of interest to policymakers, practitioners, researchers, government agencies, colleges/universities and the general public.

Internship Available with the Asian American and Pacific Islander Affairs Division

The Commission for Minority Affairs is seeking a temporary administrative coordinator for our Asian American and Pacific Islander Affairs (AA/PI) Division. The primary role of this temp-to-hire position will be to serve as the agency’s point of contact with the state’s AA/PI communities and other organizations providing services to these populations. Other duties include, but are not limited to:

  • identifying and forming collaborative partnerships and providing technical assistance to address the needs of the constituent populations;
  • overseeing the coordination of activities by the AA/PI Advisory Committee;  
  • conducting research, compiling fact sheets, and drafting reports, abstracts, articles, and other publications as they pertain to AA/PI populations; and  
  • developing cultural awareness and competency education and training programs.

The deadline to apply is Friday, February 4, 2022.

If you are interested, submit your resume to Alex Tovar (ATovar@cma.sc.gov). He can also be reached by telephone at (803) 832-8298.

Registration Open for the Faith Leaders Civic Engagement Academy

We've partnered with SC Interfaith Power & Light and Audubon South Carolina to host the Faith Leaders Civic Engagement Academy now through April 2022.

Topics discussed during the virtual training will build a foundational understanding of policy, politics and advocacy. Participants learn about elected offices, advocacy basics, and participate in practical application in areas such as clean energy, conservation, environmental justice, and social justice.

Sessions include: 

  • Session 1: Civics 101, 12 to 1 p.m. on Friday, February 11, 2022
  • Session 2: Advocacy 101, 12 to 1 p.m. on Friday, March 11, 2022
  • Session 3: Conservation Coalition Lobby Day, All Day on Tuesday, March 22, 2022
  • Session 4: Putting it Together, 12 to 1 p.m. on Friday, April 8, 2022

Click for more information or to register.

USDA's Rural Business Development Grant Program Open Through February 28, 2022

The United States Department of Agriculture is accepting applications for its Rural Business Development Grant (RBDG) program through Friday, February 28, 2022 (4:30 p.m.). The program is designed to provide technical assistance and training for small rural businesses. These funds can be used to fund business opportunities and business enterprise projects that serve rural areas (i.e., populations of 50,000 or below).  

The following rural public entities including, but not limited to, are encouraged to apply:

  • Towns
  • Communities
  • State agencies
  • Authorities
  • Nonprofit corporations
  • Institutions of higher education
  • Federally-recognized tribes
  • Rural cooperatives (if organized as a private nonprofit corporation)

For more information, visit : http://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/rural-business-development-grants/sc

Recording: Registered Apprenticeship as a Workforce Solution Informational Session

Does your business have hiring challenges? Do you want to help build our workforce? Do you have a passion for helping young people?

If your answer is yes, then check out this informational session on the Registered Apprenticeship program (RAPs) hosted by the South Carolina Commission for Minority Affairs and Apprenticeship Carolina.

An apprenticeship is a time-tested method of employee development that combines supervised on-the-job learning and job-related education along with a scalable wage. Registered apprenticeship programs ensure that South Carolina's workforce has the skills needed to match today's in-demand jobs and jobs of the future. 

Apprenticeships also provide a promising career pathway for participating apprentices who gain experience and the skills needed for the well-paying jobs that grow the state's economy. 

To learn more about Apprenticeship Carolina, visit https://www.apprenticeshipcarolina.comTo find a consultant in your area, visit https://www.apprenticeshipcarolina.com/contact.html.

Recording: How to Prepare for a Small Business Loan: Necessary Paperwork

The South Carolina Commission for Minority Affairs partnered with the SBA (Small Business Administration) South Carolina District Office and the City of Columbia Office of Business Opportunities held a free webinar on Tuesday, November 16 to help small business owners prepare to apply for a small business loan.

Bret Whiting, Commercial Loan Officer for the City of Columbia Office of Business Opportunities, discussed the documents needed to receive a small business loan and the information lending institutions utilize when they make business financing determinations.

To view a recording of the webinar, How to Prepare for a Small Business Loan: Necessary Paperwork, visit our YouTube channel.

Apprenticeship Carolina and the South Carolina Commission for Minority Affairs partner to increase the number of minority-owned businesses participating in apprenticeship

Apprenticeship Carolina™ and the South Carolina Commission for Minority Affairs signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Monday, November 8, 2021 designed to increase the number of South Carolina's minority-owned businesses participating in apprenticeship programs across the state.

"The South Carolina Commission for Minority Affairs is excited to be partnering with Apprenticeship Carolina on this initiative," said Dr. Delores Dacosta, executive director of the South Carolina Commission for Minority Affairs. "We strive to provide innovative and constructive solutions in support of ethnic minority communities.  This agreement will help connect minority-owned businesses with the many opportunities available through Apprenticeship Carolina as well as direct them to grants and other funding opportunities to help offset training costs."

An apprenticeship is a time-tested method of employee development that combines supervised on-the-job learning and job-related education along with a scalable wage. Registered apprenticeship programs ensure that South Carolina's workforce has the skills needed to match today's in-demand jobs and jobs of the future.  Apprenticeships also provide a promising career pathway for participating apprentices who gain experience and the skills needed for the well-paying jobs that grow the state's economy.

"Apprenticeship Carolina has worked diligently for more than a decade to expand the use of registered apprenticeship in the state. We are thrilled to partner with the South Carolina Commission for Minority Affairs to drive further growth and diversity of programs across South Carolina,” said Dr. Amy Firestone, vice president for Apprenticeship Carolina. "We know that a registered apprenticeship program is an effective and proven workforce development tool. It's an opportunity to develop talent, enhance quality and build relationships that can benefit both the apprentice and the organization for years to come."

Since its inception in 2007, Apprenticeship Carolina has played a crucial role in growing apprenticeship participation across the state. As a result, the number of participating organizations has increased from 90 to more than 1,150 currently, and the number of apprentices has grown from 777 to nearly 37,000 total apprentices.

For more information on Apprenticeship Carolina, visit www.apprenticeshipcarolina.com.

SCCMA Cultural Connections Quarterly Newsletter

The South Carolina Commission for Minority Affairs released the latest edition of the quarterly newsletter, Cultural Connections. In this edition, view information on Native Heritage Month, news you can use, upcoming events and more. To view the latest issue, CLICK HERE.

Be the first to hear about how the agency is bridging the gap between cultures and communities to create opportunities; upcoming events; cultural spotlights; community news and more. Stay connected with us by joining our electronic distribution list

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