For more than three decades, South Carolina Appleseed Legal Justice Center has been a forceful and respected advocate for low income South Carolinians on issues such as housing, education, hunger, public benefits, domestic violence, immigration, health care and consumer issues. SC Appleseed has always been dedicated to advocacy for low-income South Carolinians and to effecting systemic change by acting in and through the courts, legislature, administrative agencies, community and the media, and helping others do the same through education, training and co-counseling.
In recent years, SC Appleseed has devoted its time and resources to a number of projects. Some are obvious, such as upholding individuals’ rights to food, shelter, education and access to justice. Others have developed as community members have come forward and requested assistance on issues such as immigrants’ rights.
Letter from the Director
It is no secret that recent circumstances have been onerous for anyone seeking to alleviate poverty and its accompanying ills in South Carolina. Government programs that once yielded cost-effective, concrete benefits have been scuttled or slashed as we face one of the toughest economies since the Great Depression.
Many of these cuts have been carried out under the banner of “fiscal responsibility,” a term that lately has had less to do with smart money management, more to do with haphazard tax cuts that give little consideration for immediate impact or painful long-term costs that South Carolina is not prepared to incur. These cuts will damage health care, child protection, education, housing, jobs and everyone’s economic security. The inability to fund basic services even endangers our access to justice in South Carolina courtrooms.
Going forward, we must challenge such shortsightedness with raised voices. South Carolina must get back on her feet financially, raising revenues to ensure she works for all of her citizens, not just those with the most sway at the State House. This means funding basic services and safety nets not only through these tough times, but also, as we recover, providing opportunities for those at the bottom to break the cycle of poverty, or rejoin the middle class from which they recently fell.
The work of SC Appleseed – fighting for just laws and appropriate support for efficacious programs – is now more critical than ever.
Sue Berkowitz, Esq.