As we begin to wrap up Hispanic Heritage Month (ends Oct. 15), kick-off Filipino American Heritage Month (October) and prepare for Native American Heritage Month (November), we encourage you to join these celebrations as we share the vibrant and diverse cultures of South Carolina.

These celebrations demonstrate the rich traditions and histories of the cultures we serve at CMA.

As advocates for cultural diversity, it is our hope that people will embrace the cultural differences we share and the positive impact it has in our great state.

We are honoring our unique cultures through various campaigns and events in the coming months. Through our social media campaigns, the Latinx Student Summit, and virtual presentations on Native American traditions, we will build an understanding and awareness of the multicultural communities we serve.  

It’s not enough that we say we support diversity, we have a responsibility to share our experiences and engage in conversations that will move us forward. We hope that you will join us on this journey as we uplift the diverse voices in our communities.

“I had no idea that there are still American Indian tribes in SC.” 
“Aren’t the Catawba the only Indian people left?”

These are often the statements that we hear from people when we inform them of the existence of the Native American Affairs Division at the SC Commission for Minority Affairs (CMA).  So, to increase public awareness of both the program and the population it serves, we will launch a social media campaign coinciding with National Native American Heritage Month in November.
The campaign is designed to highlight the various Native American Indian communities in South Carolina. Since many of the in-person Pow Wows have been canceled due to Covid-19, the agency partnered with several Native communities for a virtual Pow Wow. 

This entails CMA staff filming Drum Groups from the various Native communities, and sharing these musical traditions on the agency’s various social media sites. The campaign will also include community and business spotlights, historical infographics and more.
With this effort, the Commission for Minority Affairs hopes to increase the public’s awareness of South Carolina’s Native communities, and their contributions to our cultural landscape.

Jerry Francis | Native American Affairs Program Manager / (803) 260-1768

Meet Chief William 'Bill' Harris. Chief Harris is the elected Chief of the Catawba Nation and has served as the governor's designee since 2018. He has been involved in tribal politics for over 20 years and has worked diligently to strengthen the government-to-government relationship. Get to know more about him and his role at the South Carolina Commission for Minority Affairs:


How did you become the governor's designee? Can you describe your role at CMA?

"When CMA was established, the main purpose of the agency was to ensure that the minorities in South Carolina had a voice. One way that we ensured that those voices were heard, was to be intentional with hiring staff from all backgrounds and cultures. I took on this role to serve as a spokesperson for the indigenous communities of South Carolina and, as the governor's designee, I'm able to share all of CMA's progress directly with the governor."

What does Native American Heritage Month mean to you?

"Firstly, I think it is worth mentioning that I can only speak from my point of view. I feel that some people often associate Native American Heritage Month with Thanksgiving, but the truth is, there is far more to the native community than that holiday. Indigenous communities were instrumental in supporting the first settlers arriving in America, but their efforts are often forgotten or lost in history. 

So often, by not teaching history, the citizens of South Carolina aren’t aware that indigenous communities still exist and are thriving. For example, most people don't know that of the 573 federally recognized tribes in the United States, the Catawba Indian Nation is the only one located in the state of South Carolina. I don’t see this month as a celebration, I choose to see it as an opportunity to educate the non-indigenous communities. Through education, you have a window to look into that particular community and you're able to become better informed regarding the subject matter."

You can learn more about Chief Harris and the Catawba Nation here.

Chief William "Bill" Harris | Catawba Nation

In South Carolina, the redistricting process is carried out by both chambers of the General Assembly (the South Carolina House of Representatives and the South Carolina Senate) after decennial census data is released. These legislative bodies redraw their respective district lines based using the most recent U.S. Census population data, and while redistricting affects all communities, its effects can be particularly felt by the rural, minority, and historically under-resourced and underserved communities.

Often marginalized communities will find their collective action and voting power diluted through the creation or consolidation of new districts, which ultimately affects their ability to self-determining their economic, social, and political futures. As such, redistricting is undertaken to achieve fair and equal representation of all persons, at all levels of governance, and for this to occur all South Carolinians must be engaged in the process.

[1] As a public entity, the South Carolina Commission for Minority Affairs is non-partisan, non-biased, and does not take a stance on legislation. The information provided is offered for informational purposes only.

Brenton Brown | Chief of Staff / (803) 563-1411
Following the deluge of articles on the latest Census figures, many have focused—unjustifiably—on narratives of White decline and surging pluri-racialism. However, Census categories are not etched in stone, nor do they transcend the messy (political) realities of everyday life and social identities. This is clearly illustrated by Census data for the state’s Native American population.

Firstly, how do we make sense of several often conflicting data points? The Census relies on self-reported data, whereas individual tribes often determine the parameters for inclusion. Those who identified solely as Native Americans[1] grew by 24.5% from 2010 to 2020, but all of that growth can be attributed to persons who also identify as Hispanic and who are likely from Mexican and Central American indigenous communities. Secondly, the Census Bureau has made it easier for respondents to identify as multiple racial identities, causing the total population identifying as Native American (solely or in conjunction with another race) to skyrocket some 156% to 108,111 individuals—84.9% of whom do not identify as Hispanic.

There are two major takeaways from this data: 1.) Individuals who solely identify as Native American in South Carolina are increasingly comprised of Hispanic migrants who may have different political and cultural notions of what it means to be an indigenous person, and who draw upon different historical narratives of colonial resistance and political organization, and 2.) Individuals identifying as multiple racial categories—including Native Americans—who may or may not have an intimate knowledge of Native American/Tribal cultures, histories, or struggles, now comprise a supermajority of South Carolina’s Native American population. It is paramount, then, that local tribal organizations find ways to reach these populations with cultural and historical education that can serve to broaden and deepen tribal awareness for those who may not have been born into that atmosphere.

[1] The Census Bureau uses the term “American Indian and/or Alaskan Native.”

Dr. Robert Fenton | Director of Research and Planning / (803) 832-8301

Ivan Segura, Program Manager for the Hispanic/Latino Affairs Division at the SC Commission for Minority Affairs received the Ohtli Award from Claudia Velasco Osorio, Consul General of the Mexican Consulate in Raleigh, NC. The award ceremony was part of the festivities to commemorate Mexico's Independence day on Wednesday, September 15, 2021.

Segura dedicates his life to advancing the prosperity of Mexican-American and Latino communities and opening pathways that improve the quality of life for the immigrant population. "Ivan's passion for serving his community inspires us all," SCCMA Executive Director Dr. Delores Dacosta said. "He exemplifies the spirit of service. It's no surprise to us that he was awarded this high honor." To view the official press release, visit

(Left: Norsan Media, Sasha Vargas, and Dolphin Multimedia)
(Right: Andrea Flores, SCCMA)
The South Carolina Commission for Minority Affairs partnered with Google to offer free training to help entrepreneurs expand their skills and grow their business through the Grow with Google initiative.

The courses are led by Digital Coach Shennice Cleckley. Cleckley is the CEO of Smart Cookie Coaching, a business development firm that helps entrepreneurs grow their business with strategic planning, digital skills training, and lifestyle integration.

Participants learn how to utilize Google’s resources to improve their online presence and reach new customers. To view past webinars, visit the Commission's YouTube page.

Upcoming courses include "Create a Compelling Presentation Deck," "Design Thinking for Entrepreneurs," "Create a Project Plan with Google Sheets," and more!

To register and learn more about the free training opportunities for small businesses, visit
The CMA Native American Affairs Division staff and Executive Director Dr. Delores Dacosta attended a meeting hosted by the SC State Museum on Monday, September 27, 2021, to discuss updates to the museum's Native American exhibit and future collaborations. 

The call for the meeting was initiated by Chief Buster Hatcher of the Waccamaw Indian People, a state-recognized tribe located in Aynor, SC. Also invited, were tribal leaders from the various other Native American Indian communities in SC.

The exhibit has not been updated in almost 40 years and is missing important contributions Natives made to the development of South Carolina. Those attending were given a tour of the museum to better understand their collections and operations, followed by a presentation and discussion. The meeting was deemed as a good first step in addressing the expressed goals of proper display of Native American history in SC, and future discussions and collaboration are in the works.
(Photo of State Museum /
The South Carolina Commission for Minority Affairs was instrumental in connecting Denmark Technical College (DTC) and Commvault in securing a partnership that would benefit many of DTC's alumni. The partnership between DTC and Commvault is important because it ensures access to high-quality education and career opportunities for rural communities.

The state's HBCUs continue to be the vanguard for educational equity and access and are more than prepared for these opportunities. This relationship also assists not only HBCU students but also our rural communities by ensuring career access and equity. 

The Commission for Minority Affairs is excited about this partnership because it helps our constituent communities. Partnering with a global organization such as Commvault and an HBCU, Denmark Technical College, is not only a win for our minority students but for the State of South Carolina as well. For more information about the partnership, contact Cynthia Haddad, African American Affairs Program Manager, at (803) 563-0585 or
(Photo of Dr. Willie Todd Jr./ Denmark Technical College)
The PAIA Lower Eastern Cherokee nation's 14th annual Pow Wow was held on Saturday, September 25. This picture, submitted by Chief Lamar Nelson of the Eastern Cherokee, Southern Iroquois, and United Tribes depicts him (right) and the PAIA's Vice Chief Dexter Sharp (left) in their regalia. Attendees enjoyed music, entertainment, food, handmade crafts, and more! To view more photos from the event, visit our Facebook page. To learn more about the PAIA Lower Eastern Cherokee nation click here.
(Photo provided by Chief Lamar Nelson)

In recognition of National Small Business Week, the South Carolina Commission for Minority Affairs partnered with the SBA (Small Business Administration) South Carolina District Office held two educational webinars designed to help small business owners connect to opportunities with the U.S. government during National Small Business Week (September 13-15). The week is held annually to celebrate the resiliency of small businesses owners and entrepreneurs. Presentations on the SBA and Contracting were shared with attendees. For more information on SBA's programs and services, visit

October 1st marks the beginning of Filipino American Heritage Month (FAHM). First celebrated in the United States in 1991, FAHM is widely celebrated in areas of the United States with large Filipino populations.

October is chosen as the celebratory month because it coincides with the first account of Filipinos on the continental United States when Filipinos on a Spanish ship landed in what is now Morro Bay, California in 1587. Today, Filipinos are the third-largest ethnic Asian group in the United States and South Carolina. Be on the lookout for our "Filipino Fact Friday" post every Friday in October on Facebook.

To learn more about our Asian American and Pacific Islander Division, click here. To contact Raphael Ofendo Reyes, Asian American and Pacific Islander Program Coordinator, call (803) 530-9965 or email
SCCMA would like to thank Lance Brown and Rhino Medical Supply for their generous donation of disposable face masks to the agency, which will be dispersed to the communities that we serve. 

Lance is the CEO and President of Rhino Medical Supply, a minority-owned company that got its start at the beginning of the pandemic and since then, has worked tirelessly in providing PPE to organizations across the country.  Although Rhino Medical has supported many with their supplies of face masks, sanitizer, and disposable gloves, (including those affected by hurricanes in New Orleans), the company also provides customized solutions for public and private hospitals, health systems, and ambulatory surgery centers. 

When we asked Mr. Brown why he is so passionate about his work, he stated "Our mission is to serve the underserved communities as well as putting people at the center of all we do." 

Visit Rhino Medical Supply to learn more about the company. To contact Lance Brown directly, call (803) 297-7992 or email
(Photo: Andrea Flores, SCCMA)
The South Carolina Commission for Minority Affairs' Hispanic Latino Affairs Division will host the inaugural South Carolina Latinx Student Summit at USC Upstate's South Carolina Centro Latino. The event will be held on Wednesday, October 27, 2021, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 pm. The summit is an initiative of the Commission's Pathways for Latinos to Advance Career and Education (PLACE) Program. The ultimate goal is to foster educational development and career advancement.

Admission to the South Carolina Latinx Student Summit is free, however, in-person attendance is limited. The icon used for this year's summit is of a butterfly which symbolizes change, evolution, growth, and forward movement. The style of drawing itself is directly inspired by Aztec drawings and carvings. The Crescent moon represents the Flag of South Carolina, as well as the Aztec god and goddess of the moon.

To learn more about the SCCMA’s Hispanic/Latino Affairs Division, click here. For more information, contact Ivan Segura at (803) 995-8518 or To register for the Latinx Student Summit, click the button below: 
Click here to regsiter
Apprenticeship Carolina works to ensure all employers in South Carolina have access to the information and technical assistance they need to create demand-driven registered apprenticeship programs. At no cost to the employer, apprenticeship consultants are available to guide companies through the registered apprenticeship development process from initial information to full recognition in the national Registered Apprenticeship System.

Eligible South Carolina businesses who sponsor a registered apprenticeship program can receive a $1,000 direct tax credit for each registered apprentice employed for at least seven months during each year of apprenticeship for up to four years.

If you are interested in sponsoring an apprenticeship program, take this quick survey. 
Click here to take the survey
News You Should Know
  • SC Commission for Minority Affairs Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month: In recognition of National Hispanic Heritage Month, the South Carolina Commission for Minority Affairs (SCCMA) will celebrate Hispanic and Latino culture and history through its Celebra La Herencia Hispana social media campaign. The campaign, which was organized by the agency’s Hispanic/Latino Affairs Division, will feature recipes, historical figures, languages, and music from Afro Latino and Indigenous communities. Messages will be posted to the agency’s Facebook (@southcarolinaminorityaffairs) and Instagram (@sccfma) pages through 10/15.
  • October marks the beginning of the National Disability Employment Awareness Month
  • SCCMA, SBA Sign Strategic Alliance Memorandum to Help Small and Minority Businesses in South Carolina 
  • DHEC Supports CDC’s Recommendation for Pfizer Brand COVID-19 Booster Shots for High-Risk Populations: On September 24, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended Pfizer brand COVID-19 vaccine booster shots for certain high-risk populations. The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) supports this recommendation and is encouraging Palmetto State residents to follow the CDC guidance, which can be found here.
  • The U.S. Small Business Administration announced major enhancements to the COVID Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program, a federal disaster relief loan program designed to serve and support small businesses impacted by the pandemic. 
Upcoming Events
  • Latino Small Business Meetup: Grow with Google and the USHCC are celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month by offering a free live stream event on YouTube on Wednesday, October 13 catered to Latino-owned businesses. Grow with Google Digital Coaches will lead digital skills workshops, highlight successful businesses from the community, and share insights to help you reach new customers, thrive online, and grow your business. Register here. To view a full list of courses, visit
  • Looking for ways to celebrate Native American Heritage Month? Click here to find a Pow Wow near you.
  • Latinx Leadership Panel | Driving Change in SC (Free): Tuesday, October 5, 7:00 - 8:00 PM EST. RSVP here.
  • CDFI Fund Update: Apply now for $1.9 Million in Economic Mobility Corps Funding (Free): Tuesday, October 26, 2:00 pm to 3:00 PM EST. The live webinar will share information on the Economic Mobility Corps and applying for an AmeriCorps grant. Register here.
  • Looking to support a Filipino-led organization? Click here to learn more about the Filipino Community of Charleston, SC Inc. and their dedication to enriching the lives of the individual Filipino and the Filipino Community.
The South Carolina Commission for Minority Affairs released its initial Second Chance Reentry Resource Guide, which is comprised of local, state, and national resources. The guide is designed to assist the formerly incarcerated as they transition back to their communities.

For more information about the resource guide, contact Cynthia Haddad at 803-333-9621 or
The South Carolina Commission for Minority Affairs released a Disability Services Resource Guide designed to connect minorities with disabilities to the services they need in order to achieve their employment and independent living goals.

For more information about the guide, contact Jerry Francis, Native American Affairs Program Manager, at (803) 832-8162 or
South Carolina Commission for Minority Affairs
293 Greystone Blvd. Columbia, SC 29210
803.333.9621 / 

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