The Charleston Forum

Friday, June 16, 2017

5:00 pm to 10:00 pm


Charleston Music Hall

Tickets are available now.

There are also opportunities to sponsor this incredible event.


The Charleston Forum's dialogue is a step forward together.


Violent episodes and shrill voices have been cutting through the singular cultural fabric that weaves us together as the United States of America.  The horrific events that occurred on June 17, 2015, at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C. shook our community and the nation. The motivation? To create a race war.  Led by the tremendous grace of the victims’ families, however, our city and nation have responded instead with a renewed passion for unity.


About the Event

On June 16, 2017, The Charleston Forum will host a discussion on the many issues currently facing Charlestonians, South Carolinians, and citizens all across the United States. As part of the official commemoration events of the losses suffered at Mother Emanuel in 2015, The Charleston Forum will shine a spotlight not only on the different perspectives on race dividing our country today but also on proposed steps forward. 

Although conversation on race is not new, the conversations too often take place only among people who already share the same agenda.  The Charleston Forum’s dialogue is a step forward together, with no pre-set agenda but with a common purpose. Our discussions will address economics and education, policing and criminal justice, the future of the past, and the Charleston experience.

Two steps are necessary for people to reach an understanding or appreciation of different views: a willingness to hear a different perspective, and the ability to be heard or see that others with your view are being heard. That understanding and appreciation – not necessarily adoption of others’ views – is the foundation upon which we can move forward together.  Just as important, the extreme views and acts will be further marginalized and attract fewer proponents.

The forum will be recorded and live streamed.  When the event is complete the videos from the evening's event will be displayed on this site to provide continued discussion about the topics and how to find solutions.



Anastopoulo Law Firm • Banks Construction Company • Boomtown ROI • Bruce Law Firm • Charleston County Bar Association • The Citadel • City of Charleston • Duffy & Young, LLC  • Gallivan, White & Boyd, P.A. • Google • Mary and Mason Holland • First Tennessee Bank • Furman University - Riley Institute • Cynthia Graham Hurd Foundation for Literacy and Civic Engagement • Jan-Pro Cleaning Systems of SC/GA Coast • Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church • Motley Rice LLC •  Nexsen Pruet • Patrick Family Foundation • The Post & Courier • Roper St. Francis Healthcare • Rosen, Rosen and Hagood, LLC • South State Bank • Uricchio, Howe, Krell, Jacobson, Toporek, Theos and Keith, P.A., Edward Westbrook

Community Partners

Charleston Police Fund  • Charleston School of Law • The Citadel School of Humanities and Social Sciences  •  Coastal Community Foundation  • College of Charleston Race and Social Justice Initiative •  eHouse Studio  •  The Honorable Reverend Clementa C. Pinckney Foundation•  Social Justice, Racial Equity: Transforming from the inside out  •  Sophia Institute•  South Carolina Bar Foundation • University of South Carolina Civil Rights History and Research Center



Speakers will be updated frequently.  Sign up for our email updates to learn when new speakers are announced.


Artistic Performances 


Marcus Amaker

Marcus Amaker is Charleston, South Carolina’s first Poet Laureate. His poetry has been featured on TEDx, PBS Newshour, A&E, the Huffington Post, several journals and poetry collections. He is the former entertainment editor of The  Post and Courier, where he worked for eight years. His sixth book, Mantra, is also an app for iPhone and Android devices. He’s a well-known graphic/web designer and videographer, producing award-winning work for many nonprofits and organizations. He’s also the lead graphic designer for a national music magazine. This year, he was named one of Charleston’s 50 Most Influential people by Charleston Business Magazine. Marcus has released more than twenty albums of music since 1986, including an album with Grammy-nominated drummer and producer Quentin E. Baxter.

Paula Boggs Band

Starbucks vet Boggs and the 6-piece Paula Boggs Band traverse jazz, world, rock and Americana. They released debut album "A Buddha State of Mind" in 2010 and album "Carnival of Miracles," produced by Grammy-winning Trina Shoemaker in March 2015.  Their sound is "Seattle-Brewed Soulgrass"and the band has performed 50+ shows nationally since releasing "Carnival of Miracles." The band released an "unplugged" EP of consciousness songs, "Live at Empty Sea, Songs of Protest & Hope," in January 2017 and it's 3rd studio album, Elixir, The Soulgrass Sessions, later this year. 

During this year's Forum, the Paula Boggs Band will be premiering their song, "Benediction," with the Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church Choir.

Charlton Singleton

A native of Awendaw, SC, Charlton Singleton began his musical studies at the age of three on the piano. He would then go on to study the organ, violin, cello, and the trumpet throughout elementary, middle and high school. In 1994, he received a Bachelor of Arts in Music Performance from South Carolina State University. Since that time, he has taught music at the elementary, middle, and high school levels, as well as being an adjunct faculty member at the College of Charleston. Currently, he is the Artistic Director and Conductor of the Charleston Jazz Orchestra; an 18 piece jazz ensemble of some of the finest professional musicians in the Southeast and the resident big band in Charleston, SC. Mr. Singleton is also the organist and choir director at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Charleston, SC. In November of 2016 he was named the inaugural Artist in Residence at the recently renovated Gaillard Center in downtown Charleston.

Mycle Wastman

Seattle’s soul-singer, Mycle Wastman, emerged as a stealth frontrunner on season 3 of NBC’s The Voice. Rightly so! He delivers a refreshing combination of an old soulful vibe, R&B sensibilities, and a splash of pop. Wastman is a singer’s singer, interpreting from all of the greats who have come before him while still firmly exerting a style all his own.  From his years as an Army private to later serving in the Army Reserves as a chaplain’s assistant, at Madigan Army Medical Center at Fort Lewis, singing and performing have always been an integral part of Wastman’s life. He writes his own music and is currently working on his third full-length album. Previous releases include I’m All Over It (2011) and The Beautiful Stay (2008).  On NBC’s The Voice, Mycle Wastman’s performance of Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together” caused three judges to ecstatically turn their chairs. CeeLo Green, Blake Shelton, and Adam Levine all fought convincingly to have Mycle on their team… but wisely, Mycle went with “Team CeeLo.”  Mycle will be performing with the Paula Boggs Band and the Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church choir while they perform Benediction.


Sponsorship Opportunities

Download a pdf sponsorship sheet to learn about ways to sponsor the Charleston Forum on Race event.