Mount Pleasant Town Hall is buzzing with anticipation, plans and projects as the possibility of securing a third All-America City Award is within reach. The town has won the prestigious award twice, once in 2010 and again in 2018. Mount Pleasant’s thorough and powerful application grabbed the attention of the All-America City judges and landed the town one of 20 spots in the final competition. Focusing on the attributes of strength, diversity and trust, the community stories featured in the application are compared to our local sweetgrass baskets which are sewn to be strong, colorful and beautiful.
In early 2023, a team of town staff members began the lengthy process of applying for the designation while emphasizing community programs and accomplishments that coincide with the theme, “Creating Thriving Communities through Youth Engagement.” Mount Pleasant Youth Council was the perfect way to introduce the town’s mission to invest in our future leaders. The program empowers youth to serve their communities, develop leadership skills and grow to be engaged, responsible residents.
The next step was to bring the application to life. Now, the planning is underway to bring a delegation of community members, town hall staff members and town leaders to Denver, Colorado to showcase how Mount Pleasant embodies what it means to be an All-America City. The group represents how the people of our town are intertwined to create a strong community.
To share our community’s unique identity, we will participate in the cultural showcase, which will highlight our Gullah traditions and history. A sweetgrass basket maker coupled with a Gullah storyteller will make guests feel like they’re exploring a basket stand along Highway 17 in the South Carolina Lowcountry.
The most significant component of the competition is a 10-minute presentation that will be performed by the delegation in front of a panel of judges. The goal of the presentation is to highlight the accomplishments of the community discussed in the application by featuring the people who have fostered and advocated for positive change in town. This way, the passion behind the projects shines through. We highlight the work of local non profit Just Bee and restaurant Migliori’s Pizza. Both organizations work toward expanding inclusivity and positive experiences for families and individuals who are neurodivergent. The founder and CEO of Just Bee, Layla Luna, along with Don and Joanne Migliori and advocates Debbie and Frankie Antonelli will all join “Team Mount Pleasant” on the Denver stage to share their mission toward weaving inclusivity into the workforce and business community. Our next story focuses on our array of law enforcement programs designed to build relationships between community members, particularly young ones and police. Our loyal school resource officers create lasting bonds with Mount Pleasant students, while our police explorers and community service officers engage with and assist the public and our law enforcement officers. The authenticity and dedication of the Mount Pleasant Police Department make the town a safe community to live, work, play and raise a family. Deputy Chief Tyrone Simmons, who has been involved with these programs from a young age, SRO Mulern Jean, along with a current CSO and prospective MPPD Officer Matt Iannuzzi, will share how the programs weave bonds of trust in the community. The final segment of the presentation will share the story of the Shipman family. In the nearly seven years since the opioid epidemic claimed the life of 19-year-old Creighton Shipman, the Shipman family has been fighting to save lives through their non profit Wake Up Carolina. The Shipmans will wrap up the presentation by showing the judges how the family is weaving light into dark.
Community members and town leaders are hopeful that months of preparation for the competition will earn the town its third All-America City designation to prove that all the pieces and people of the town fit together to create something extraordinary — a lot like the intricate sweetgrass basket.
By Katie Augustine