Save Britton's Neck, South Carolina

Save Britton's Neck, South Carolina

From Jaleel Manns

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Communities are the foundation of our nation. In fact, that's all a nation is, a collection of communities. And some communities are historic. One such community is called Britton's Neck, in this state of South Carolina. And it has the name Britton's Neck because this community existed back in the days of the founding fathers when the American Revolutionary War was fought. At that time, the British had a fort, and the neck was the road or the fork of the road. And hence, the name Britton's Neck. So all throughout the colonial period, through the Revolutionary War, through the Civil War, World War I, World War II, Vietnam War, and others, this community has struggled, stayed together, striven, and grown. But now it's threatened by something else. Not wars, not economic disasters like the great depression, but now it's threatened by climate change.

And what we look at this community that's predominantly African American with many elderly and low-income people, we find that they have had to be evacuated from their homes three times in the last five years. So during the Thousand Year Flood declared by then governor, Nikki Haley, to Hurricane Matthew the people struggled, rebuilt, and remained together. But then came Hurricane Florence in 2018. Once again, more than 2000 people had to be evacuated from their homes. But when they returned a little while after the flood, there were at least 300 residents received notice from the County of Marion stating that every one of those homeowners had to elevate their homes or not be eligible for homeowners insurance and types of FEMA support in the future. The problem is that Marion County has had a specific, persistent history of poverty over more than a decade.

The native residents worked in all fields, cleaned all halls, and their employees never paid into social security, because they survive off of SSI checks from the federal government that is rarely 6 or $700 a month. We went and asked for quotes from engineering firms, and found that small home in good enough condition to be elevated, of only 900 square feet, would require at least $20,000 to elevate that home. So we're struggling. The people of Marion County and the people of the historical Britton's Neck community are struggling to elevate their homes, to repair the damage, to build resiliency and adaptation in a community that will surely be struck again and again by the forces of nature, which have been changed because of climate change. And so we knew our community development corporation and partnership with the Sierra Club, the concerned citizens of Britton's Neck, about this.

I'm launching a campaign to assist those in need to repair their home, to elevate their homes, and to ensure that this predominantly African American community that shouldn't be designated a historic district, is not completely erased, not only from the map but from the annals of history. So you can help. You can help by making a generous donation so that we can help some 84-year-old woman who washes our clothes and picked up fruits and vegetables that we ate so that we could survive. They showed that she, or he, could survive again. So if you want to support us, we would like for you to just simply press the donate button and give us a contribution that will help someone remain in their home and help a community stays together so that our nation can stay together as well. 

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