“I am the son of a Civil Rights leader. He wasn’t about the accolades and attention, he was about the results. You can be hopeful and believe in the promise, but you have to put in the work. The Bible says, ‘Faith without work is dead.’ This is the challenge of our progressive community—folks not wanting to put in the work.”
That’s JA Moore, community and relationship developer and a connector of people and ideas, and the half-brother of Myra Thompson, one of the Emanuel Nine. A native of Hampton County, he’s been in Charleston since 2003, where he studied at Johnson & Wales.
“Progress doesn’t come because you hope and wish for it. There’s no such thing as free college and healthcare. You achieve success in life through sweat equity. Having a full-time job and full-time volunteerism equals 80-hour weeks. And that’s how you affect change. You gotta put in the work.”
JA is passionate about finding solutions for public transportation, fixing SC’s failing roads and bridges, and making sure everyone has access to clean water. The newlywed is also passionate about his wife, Victoria.
“She’s transformed my life. She inspires me in ways she doesn’t even realize. I feel really confident about my future, and what I can do because of her.”
JA wants to see substantive changes and actions in Charleston. He wants leaders who ask people what they want, rather than telling them what they think they need.
“Where we are as a community and nation is where we were in 1964-68. Ask yourself: are you part of the status quo or part of the solution? There’s a struggle between pragmatism and idealism. There are so many progressive people here and they cannot be silent. This is our community’s moon shot. The time requires that we be the sounding trumpet for the muted voices.”
That means actively working toward inclusiveness, getting more women, people of color, and young professionals in leadership roles, fostering economic opportunities for minority-owned businesses, increasing equity in school funding, and embracing black culture in a more authentic way.
“There’s just so much I want to accomplish and do.”
Words by Claire Gibbons
Photo by Mark Stetler