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Make a Public Comment: tell city officials to engage the Black community in revising the budget

When City Council postponed its budget vote on June 9th, Mayor Mannheimer said, “We want a chance to go back and look at the budget and see if there are things from a budgetary standpoint we can do to address change.” She claimed that this change might come in the form of community investments in the Black community. But so far, city officials have not initiated any process to involve the Black community in this new budget process. If City Council and the City Manager are serious about reimagining public safety in our city and investing in the Black community, then they must create a process that includes the voices of those communities.

Will you take action today? Let us know how you’ll make your public comment in this form. (More instructions below)

What to do:

  • Email and call in a public comment for Tuesday’s Council meeting, advocating for a budget process that follows the lead of the Black community, rather than a business as usual approach that excludes them . (If you only have time to do one, we encourage you to send an email – but do both of you can.)
    • To email a comment, write to AshevilleCityCouncilJune232020@publicinput.com. The deadline for this is 24 hours after the meeting is over (so Wednesday night).
    • To call in a comment, listen to the meeting live (it starts at 5 pm, and usually lasts several hours. The open public comment period will be toward the end. You can listen to the meeting live by calling 855-925-2801, meeting code: 9144. When there is a call for “informal discussion and public comment” toward the end of the meeting, you will hear “for more options please press *.” Pressing * will allow you to continue to listen live and join a speaker queue. (Make sure you wait to join the speaker queue during the open public comment time at the end of the meeting. If you try to make your comment earlier when other agenda items are being discussed, you’ll get cut off.) You’ll have 3 minutes to make your comment. per person per item. 
  • Provide your name, city of residence and the item you are commenting on (Informal Discussion and Public Comment).
  • Start off with something personal: tell them why you are a resident whose voice they should listen to on this matter; share a quick personal story about why its important to you that Black people be included in the city’s budgeting process; make a personal statement about why you think this issue should be important to them.
  • Close by stating plainly that you urge Council to invite the Black community into the budgeting process, so that their voices are truly considered.