From the Desk of the Commissioner
Welcome to the South Carolina Human Affairs Commission!
The South Carolina Human Affairs Commission is a state agency created in 1972 by the South Carolina General Assembly to administer and enforce the S. C. Human Affairs Law. The law defines discrimination on the basis of race, religion, color, sex, age (40 years or over), national origin, or disability as “…unlawful and in conflict with the ideals of South Carolina and the nation, as this discrimination interferes with opportunities of the individual to receive employment and to develop according to the individual’s own ability and is degrading to human dignity.”
The South Carolina General Assembly further stated that the Commission’s mission is “…to encourage fair treatment for, and to eliminate and prevent discrimination against any member of a group protected by this chapter, and to foster mutual understanding and respect among all people in this State.”
The law was passed in the wake of turbulent times when South Carolina was experiencing incidents such as: 1) “The Orangeburg Massacre” in 1968, in which three (3) black college students were shot and killed by highway patrolmen in Orangeburg at the entrance to the South Carolina State College campus; 2) “The Charleston Curfew” in 1969, imposed in Charleston related to protests by black workers against the Medical University Hospital for issues including discriminatory pay and working conditions; and 3) “The Lamar Incident” in 1970, the violent mob attack using various weapons and objects on school buses carrying black children attempting to integrate Lamar High School.
Since those difficult times in our history and the creation of the S. C. Human Affairs Commission, I believe anyone familiar with the landscape in South Carolina will agree that much has been accomplished in the area of civil rights. Those who supported or worked tirelessly to make progress possible should be encouraged to continue the journey to complete the task still before us today – to make our State and Nation a place where diversity is appreciated, emphasized, and realized.
As the Commission’s Board members continue to set policy and the staff continues the work to keep pace with its forebears, I am confident that in the next forty years when observers look back, positive mention will be made of our efforts.
Edmund Burke, famed Irish statesman, author, political theorist and philosopher, also known for supporting the American Revolution, wrote “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good [people] do nothing.” Today I call on all South Carolinians of good conscience to continue to support the mission, vision, values and work of this agency. Raymond Buxton, II