Asheville City Council

Asheville reparations program sets aside $2.1 million for funding

How that money will be spent is still undecided:

The Asheville City Council approved a budget amendment on Tuesday to pull the money from city land purchased in the 1970s as part of the city’s urban renewal programs that took apart Black communities, the Asheville Citizen Times reported. The city council also adopted a proclamation declaring June 19 as Juneteenth, the date which marks the end of slavery in the U.S.

The City Council has previously said the reparations do not require direct payments but would mandate investments in areas where Black residents face disparities. City Manager Debra Campbell on Tuesday said officials have not yet determined what those investments will entail.

Where they got the money from is just as important as the money itself. It's a tacit admission that the City is responsible for actions taken over a century after the Civil War concluded, and that slavery was only one part of the systemic repression of African-Americans in our state. It's long past time we took a harsh look at redlining and other segregational aspects of the 20th Century. The City is holding a forum today (6 pm) where speakers will discuss the current challenges and take public comments (limited to 2 minutes per). Trying to set up a livestream for later down here:

Asheville approves reparation (steps) for slavery

slaveschool.jpg

Social justice can take many forms:

Asheville City Council unanimously passed a resolution Tuesday night to provide reparations to black residents and their descendants. The resolution also apologizes for Asheville's role historically in slavery and discrimination. The resolution does not give direct payments to descendants of slaves, but instead allocates money to areas that traditionally see racial disparities.

Those areas include an effort to increase minority home ownership and access to affordable housing. Investments will also be made to increase minority business ownership and career opportunities. Other priorities include closing gaps in health care, education, pay and fairness within the criminal justice system.

This all sounds fantastic, but it will take action more than words to make it effective. And those actions, when they do take place, need to be monitored closely to make sure already well-off (white) people aren't reaping the benefits. Film at eleven.

Asheville City Council next target of GOP meddling

If you can't be popular, be a bully:

Republican Sen. Chuck Edwards, who represents a small part of South Asheville, sent an email to Mayor Esther Manheimer Tuesday afternoon saying he was "confident that this measure" to require districts in council elections would pass the General Assembly in Raleigh, unlike one attempted by his powerful predecessor.

Apodaca, who was chairman of the powerful rules committee, said he wanted to change the fact that no council member had been elected for more than a decade from South Asheville, which has the highest number of Republicans in the city. Tuesday, Edwards said his "actions are the result of trends taking place in municipalities as well as a great deal of feedback from citizens of Buncombe County."

Asheville needs to fight this the way Greensboro did, if it comes down to it. And I wouldn't trust Republicans in the General Assembly to respect any District maps developed by the City, because they are constitutionally incapable of keeping their grubby fingers from redrawing maps, and double-bunking is bound to occur. Which, in case you're not paying attention, is one way the Legislature undermines the will of the people, by making them choose which one of their 2-3 favorites gets to remain in office.

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