Empower SC announces Harden Food Justice Initiative

July 22, 2020

Partnering with EveryBlackGirl and Good Trouble, Empower SC aims to feed the community with healthy fresh food, and create infrastructure for lasting food justice.

Empower SC is announcing the Harden Food Justice Initiative to provide the Harden St/Waverly community with healthy fresh food and supplies through their Drive-Thru Market on July 31st. They have partnered with EveryBlackGirl and Good Trouble to fight for food justice for this underserved part of Columbia during this economic and public health crisis.

“This community has been systematically denied justice by those charged with protecting and providing for them. This initiative is the way forward,” Empower SC Executive Director Rye Martinez said. “Food justice is racial justice. Empower SC, along with our partners, is looking at the whole picture and tackling injustice from every angle.”

In early July, Empower SC supported Gray Court Councilwoman Shaterica Neal in her call for an economic boycott of a liquor and convenience store on Harden Street. While trying to feed individuals experiencing homelessness outside of the store, she was verbally harassed with racial slurs and physically assaulted by the store owner, who was subsequently arrested for his crimes. It was later revealed by residents that the convenience store is the only means of buying food in the neighborhood. Despite many calls from public officials and residents to provide a grocery store for this community, their requests have been ignored. Empower SC is asking for a call to action in support of a community who deserves justice in all forms.

“Racism isn’t always attacking a black woman,” Martinez said. “It’s also denying people access to healthy, affordable food based on where they live. Structural racism is a silent violence- and we’re here to stand up against it in all its forms.”

Empower SC is asking people to request the delivery of items through their Facebook page, or by leaving a message at (803) 470-4428‬. For more information, visit empowersouthcarolina.org.


Empower SC is a collective of community members, organizers, and activists, dedicated to creating a more equitable South Carolina through community organizing, collaborative partnerships, and systemic policy change.