COLUMBIA, SC – DESA, Inc. is pleased to announce that Dwight James has joined its team as Project Manager.
James will be responsible for the management of DESA’s REEMERGE program. REEMERGE, funded by the Minority Business Development Agency, is a reintegration program for previously incarcerated citizens. It uses employment, coaching, education and entrepreneurship to prepare clients for positions in HVAC, industrial electrical, landscaping, carpentry, and other trades that pay a livable wage.
Most recently, James has served as Executive Director of South Carolina Conference, NAACP. Under his leadership, the organization championed an impressive array of social and justice reforms that included preserving voting rights, enhancing diversity within state, local and federal law enforcement agencies, defeating efforts to cut Medicaid funding to citizens, and challenging excessive sentencing of youthful offenders. James also launched a ten-year series of annual statewide economic summits that sought to find solutions, introduce new ideas and concepts, and create partnerships to reduce disparities in wealth and employment opportunities in the African American community. His initiative promoted volunteer-led free ACT/SAT testing for students considering higher education options and organized the first Just Energy Summit to promote alternative energy solutions and policy that broadened access to solar energy.
As the lead field strategist in the campaign that brought over 70,000 protesters to the King Day at the Dome rally at the State Capitol in January 2000, James oversaw local, regional and national coordination for a protest event that stands as the largest in South Carolina history. While facilitating the Campaign for Dignity, he helped to forge solidarity among leaders of civic, professional, ecumenical, labor, social and student groups to effectively remove all interior and exterior displays of the Confederate Battle flag at the State Capitol Complex.
“We are excited to have Mr. James on the DESA team. Throughout his NAACP tenure, he successfully brought people and organizations together to create positive impact in the community. His passion for helping others, especially the disenfranchised, will be a great asset to the REEMERGE program,” says Diane Sumpter, President and CEO of DESA.
James has received numerous awards and citations including the Harrison C. Capers Award for Equal Employment Opportunity and the SC NAACP Valuing Leadership Award. A native of Columbia, James graduated from Claflin University with a Bachelor of Science degree.