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City Voted “Best In The World” Has Darker Side

Dorathy Gass

The magazine Travel + Leisure recently spotlighted Charleston, South Carolina, as the top city in the world, voted in by their readers; however, there are some local non-profits, that have recently spoken out, slightly disagreeing on this. The city was voted in as the ‘best in the world’ with comments about Charleston’s hospitality, historic architecture, and charm; but it seems as if the city might have a darker side to it.

Travel + Leisure Editor, Nathan Lump chimed in, noting Charleston’s dynamic feel, and stated that the city has reached its highest-ever ranking on the mag’s survey, as 2016 top city, worldwide.

MSN reported that still, the city seems to be struggling with some issues, including an inadequate public transit system; as tourism is on the rise, and Charleston’s population grows. There is also need for additional resources to meet the ever-increasing needs of the city’s homeless situation.

Executive Director, Lowcountry Homeless Coalition, Anthony Haro notes that there are over 450 homeless people who live in Charleston, and almost 50% of those individuals, do not have shelter of any kind. There is only one emergency shelter in the city for both women and men, and two additional shelters for women only, within the seven surrounding South Carolina counties. Haro notes that he fell in love with Charleston six years ago when he moved to the city, and thinks its fantastic; however, there is a lot of work the community needs to tackle in order to help all residents live a more holistic life – and homelessness is one issue that needs to be addressed.

So, while homelessness is real in the city, creating a bit of a darker side to Charleston, the community also has a sad history that lingers in the minds of many, from 1919 Red Summer race riots. Visitor attractions lay along the river, of former slave plantations, that tell a story of once was, within the grounds and houses. Charleston is also infamous for an incident that occurred in June 2015, where Dylan Roof, 21 years of age, walked into a church downtown, and shot nine African Americans. Sadly, discrimination in this day and age still exist in Charleston, and is also targeted towards individuals with the LGBT community; where they are still refused housing or fired from jobs.

Still, understanding of equality is growing within Charleston, as Executive Director, Alliance for Full Acceptance, Warren Redman-Gress states. He goes on to note that he offered training in diversity for a police department in the area recently, thanks to a number of LGBT advocates within the department; one of those being Police Chief Gregory Mullen.
There are human rights regulations to stop discrimination within the workforce and housing within the state, but as Redman-Gress states, many organizations still discriminate. He goes to insist that the city is a wonderful place to live in; but was surprised to see it voted in as the best city in the world.