City of Columbia Announces New Equity & Inclusion (E&I) Survey to Assess Important Experiential Feedback & Concerns From Citizens to Provide to Columbia’s Community Leaders

The City of Columbia is seeking input from residents regarding their insights on equity and their experiences in local communities. The Equity & Inclusion (E&I) Survey will provide important feedback and allow Columbia’s community leaders to hear first-hand from a diverse array of residents. The data received from the survey will assist with continuing to make policy decisions to improve the quality of life for all.

With a desire to ensure meaningful change, Columbia City Council expressed support for conducting an assessment examining key issues facing the City of Columbia, and convened the Commission on the Future of Columbia. This workgroup, comprised of individuals from varied sectors and communities, will coordinate efforts to engage residents in an open dialogue. Findings will be presented to help the City take future actions toward enhancing social equity and working to ensure that all Columbians have equal access to quality of life and equal access to opportunity.

Columbia City Council and the Commission on the Future of Columbia ask residents to share their thoughts and concerns by accessing the online E&I survey through December 31, 2020. The survey takes less than 10 minutes to complete and is designed to gather information that will help identify strengths and challenges related to equity and inclusion in our community. 

To access the E&I Survey, please visit Equity & Inclusion Survey. To access the Spanish language version of the survey, visit HERE.

For questions or additional details, please contact:
City of Columbia Accepting Nominations for the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dream Keeper Scholarship Awards
The City of Columbia is accepting nominations for the 2021 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dream Keeper Scholarship Awards.
The Dream Keeper Scholarship Awards program recognizes exemplary displays of committed service to the tenets of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 
The ideals of social responsibility, political empowerment, diversity, racial harmony, nonviolence, and unselfish service must be demonstrated voluntarily by the nominee in support of his or her community and fellow citizens.
The nominee must be age 18 or younger and enrolled in an elementary, middle or high school with a minimum 2.0 grade point average.
Applications are available online for download or at the City of Columbia Parks and Recreation Department, 1111 Recreation Drive, Columbia, SC 29201.
Applications must be returned by the following methods:
1.   By mail to the City of Columbia Parks and Recreation Department, Attn: Kevin Crawford II, 1111 Recreation Drive, Columbia, SC 29201. Applications must be postmarked by Friday, Nov. 20, 2020.
2.   Submit completed application as a PDF file to
For more information, contact Kevin B. Crawford II at 803-545-0041 or or visit
Garbage Collection Thanksgiving Holiday Schedule 
On Wednesday, November 25, 2020, all garbage and recycle pickup that’s scheduled for Thursday, November 26, 2020 will be collected.
All garbage and recycling pickup scheduled for Friday, November 27, 2020, will remain on regular schedule. 
City residents are encouraged to download the free “Columbia, SC Solid Waste” app for iPhone or Android for weekly collection reminders and holiday schedule changes. Residents can also sign up for other notification options online at
For additional information, please contact the Solid Waste Division at 803-545-3800.
The City of Columbia and Local Partners Present A Four Part Community Conversation on
The Color of Law
The City of Columbia and local partners have worked together to host four virtual sessions on the book The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America. The purpose of these sessions is to explore the concepts presented in the book to understand their role in shaping Columbia and explore ways we can address the effects of past policies to create a more equitable community.
The first session will take place on December 10, 2020 from 6:00pm to 8:00pm, where the discussion will be centered around gentrification and other urban renewal efforts and how Columbia’s neighborhoods changed because of it.
Panelists for the first session, to be moderated by Warren Bolton, include:
  1. Franchot Brown, Former Waverly Resident, Civil Rights Lawyer
  2. Joe Darby, Former Wheeler Hill Resident, Civil Rights Activist
  3. Rebecca Liebson, Reporter, The State
  4. Stuart Andrews, Attorney, Civil Rights Activist
  1. Session 2 will be held on January 7, 2021, where the topic will be the effects of redlining on today’s disparities.
  2. Session 3 will be held on January 21, 2021, featuring a discussion with The Color of Law author Richard Rothstein (This program is made possible thanks to funding from the Dominion Energy Charitable Foundation and SC Humanities.).
  3. Session 4 will be held on February 4, 2021, where the topic is Where Do We Go from Here: Innovative Solutions from Today’s Mayors.
Additional details for these sessions will be provided closer to their dates.
The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America recovers a forgotten history of how federal, state, and local policy explicitly segregated metropolitan areas nationwide, creating racially homogenous neighborhoods in patterns that violate the Constitution and require remediation. It’s author, Richard Rothstein, is a Distinguished Fellow of the Economic Policy Institute and a Senior Fellow (emeritus) at the Thurgood Marshall Institute of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.
For more information on how to access The Color of Law, visit
The Color of Law public forum initiative was developed by City of Columbia Councilwoman Tameika Isaac Devine.
"We are at a pivotal time in our nation's history,” said Councilwoman Devine. “With the national discussions about systemic racism, racial inequities and economic challenges that face our communities, I think it is important to understand the role government has played in where we are today and what steps can be taken to ensure a more equitable city where all residents can thrive."
Partners for the four part discussion include Richland Library, Historic Columbia, Columbia SC 63, Dominion Energy Charitable Foundation, SC Humanities, Center for Civil Rights History and Research, African American Studies Program at The University of South Carolina, and the Institute for African American Research at the University of South Carolina.
“As Richland Library embarks on its yearlong Let's Talk Race community initiative, we are grateful for our partnership with the City of Columbia,” said Executive Director Melanie Huggins. “Elevating the stories of local residents and engaging in authentic conversations with our neighbors are the ways we will create an inclusive community and meaningful change.”
"This critically important initiative provides all of us an opportunity to explore the rich histories of neighborhoods in Columbia and the often unjust circumstances that led to their demise. These stories matter, and now we have an opportunity to learn from them as we battle persistent inequities in our community." Bobby Donaldson (Columbia SC 63: Our Story Matters & Center for Civil Rights History and Research)
“The issues addressed by Richard Rothstein in the Color of Law are key to understanding the systems that undermine equal access to housing, education, and resources in our community, state, and country. By using this book as a lens to view SC’s capital city, we have the opportunity to understand and subsequently address inherently unequal systems,” said Robin Waites, Executive Director of Historic Columbia.
Mayor Benjamin Receives Flu Vaccination at City Hall to Encourage Columbia Residents to Protect Themselves for the Upcoming Flu Season

On Friday, October 2, Mayor Steve Benjamin expressed the importance of preventing the spread of the flu in our Midlands communities during this fall season. Mayor Benjamin was joined by At-large City Councilman Howard Duvall.

“Even if you don’t have any chronic conditions or any special risk factors for flu, it is still important to protect yourself, protect your family and your community by getting your flu shot this year,” said Mayor Steve Benjamin.

Mayor Steve Benjamin received his flu vaccination from a representative of Doctor’s Care to lead by example of taking the preventative measures to stop the spread of the highly contagious disease.

Flu vaccinations are available at free or low cost at many pharmacies, public health departments, college health centers, employers and schools.

To stay updated about the upcoming flu season, please visit
City Video Hub
Find in-depth perspectives from news, updates, and recent events in the City of Columbia.
City Council
Virtual Meeting
Tuesday, November 17, 2020 2:00 PM, Columbia, SC 29201
City of Columbia and Local Partners Present A Four Part Community Conversation on The Color of Law
Mayor Benjamin Flu Shot PSA
Follow these easy steps to help prevent the spread of COVID-19:

 1.      Wash hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.

2.      If soap and warm water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

3.      Clean surfaces frequently with disinfecting supplies (telephones, keyboards, copiers, printers, desks, etc.)

4.      Stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arms’ length) from other individuals

5.      Do no gather in crowds and groups.
6.      Maximize social distancing among co-workers and the public.

Remember, Safety Starts with an “S” but it begins with “YOU”.
Let’s continue to unite and fight the spread of the Coronavirus. 
City Leaders

Stephen K. Benjamin
Sam Davis
Councilman District I
Tameika Isaac Devine
Councilwoman At-Large
Howard E. Duvall, Jr.
Councilman At-Large
Edward H. McDowell, Jr.
Councilman District II
Daniel J. Rickenmann
Councilman District IV
Will Brennan
Councilman District III
Teresa Wilson
City Manager