The Gullah Geechee Chamber Foundation, founded in 2020, aims to enhance climate change awareness and environmental literacy among peoples of color in frontline communities in coastal South Carolina. The Foundation celebrates the Gullah Geechee culture and people – descendants of enslaved Africans whose knowledge of natural resources were exploited on the plantations of the coastal Carolinas, Georgia and Florida. The Foundation and the Gullah Geechee Chamber of Commerce were founded by Marilyn L. Hemingway, a civic leader and entrepreneur in Georgetown, S.C. An advocate for the environment and clean, renewable energy, Hemingway also founded the annual Gullah Geechee Environmental & Energy Conference, hosted in South Carolina and Georgia, with plans to expand to North Carolina and Florida. Through the conference, the Foundation aims to empower the Gullah Geechee and rural and low-income residents to advocate for sustainable solutions to the effects of climate change in their communities.
The Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor was established by Congress in 2006 to recognize the unique culture of the Gullah Geechee people. The corridor extends from Wilmington, N.C. to Jacksonville, Fla., and includes roughly 80 barrier islands and continues inland to adjacent coastal counties. Climate change and development are threatening the region’s natural beauty, traditional foodways and local economy. In an effort to protect and promote the region, the Foundation, through funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, is establishing a Gullah Geechee Seafood Trail. Working with residents and collaborators, the Foundation plans to preserve maritime stories, anecdotes and traditions. In addition to a grant to fund programs against climate change, The Foundation also received funds from the U.S. Energy Foundation to restart the Gullah Geechee Environment & Energy Conversations that showcase environment and energy organizations to the community.
For more information:
Marilyn Hemingway, Founder and President
Erosion-Subsidence, Flooding, Heat, Hurricanes/Tropical Storms
Environmental Justice Concerns
Air Pollution, Coal/Coke Plants and Emissions, Fighting Development/Destruction of Wildlife/Extinction of Species, Fracking/Oil and Gas Development/Pipelines, Groundwater Contamination, Hypoxia (Oceanic Dead Zones), Incinerator/Dumping/Landfill, Industrial Agriculture/Animal Waste, Lead Contamination, Nuclear Power Plants, PFAS/PFOS, Port/Transit/Highway Contamination/Noise, Sewage/Sewage Treatment
Art Activism, Community Farm/Gardens, Community Land Trusts/Land Conservation, Community Organizing and Education, Direct Relief and Aid, Elevation or Relocation of Homes, Green Infrastructure, Legal/permit challenges to development, contamination, pollution, etc, Nature-Based Solutions, Policy Reform, Political activism, including protests, petitions, and lobbying, Renewable Energy, Risk mapping and/or monitoring e.g. flooding/contaminants etc
501c3 Tax Deductible