The Community Reparations Commission has asked the City of Asheville and Buncombe County to formally commit to stop harming Black people in this region.
You can read their draft “Recommendation for Immediate Action” here. (They made several small revisions at their meeting on December 5th, 2022, including asking for a timeline for the completion of the audit. We’ll share the final version here when it becomes available.) Here is an excerpt:
As the Reparations Commission formulates recommendations that will address injuries that have resulted in disparate outcomes in Education, Health & Wellness, Housing, Economic Development and Justice it is strongly recommended that the City and County cease harms that continue to injure and, in turn, intensify disparities.
It is also recommended that assurances be given that effective measures are taken that end ongoing and current harms due to intentional and unintentional policies, programs, practices and procedures. Processes that produce disparities as well as racially discriminate outcomes in Education, Health Care, Housing, Economic Development and Justice must cease.
An official Audit must be completed by the City and County of where Asheville and Buncombe County are in compliance and out of compliance with federal and state laws, regulatory bodies, Codes of Conduct, Court Orders and Consent Decrees.
Meaningful reparations are built on truth and awareness of past and current harms. We are reminded of Malcolm X’s quote: “If you stick a knife in my back nine inches and pull it out six inches, there’s no progress. If you pull it all the way out, that’s not progress. The progress is healing the wound that the blow made. They won’t even admit the knife is there.” An audit like this is documentation of the “wound(s) that the blow(s) made (and make)” in our local communities, a necessary element to healing.
We fully support this request from the Community Reparations Commission and call on the Asheville City Council and Buncombe County Commission to vote to authorize this audit and commit to assessing and then addressing the harms they are perpetuating.
The City and County haven’t yet posted instructions for making a public comment at their upcoming meetings; we’ll be emailing some instructions on how to do so as soon as we can.
If you want to send an email to both the City Council and County Commission, you can use our template (which will open an email in your own email program) by clicking here. To proceed manually, you can copy and paste the text below into an email and then address it to the addresses below.
(If you have issues with the link above, scroll down the page for the email template that you can copy and paste.)
Email Template text you can adapt and use:
To: AshevilleNCCouncil@ashevillenc.gov, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Asheville and Buncombe County: Authorize the Audit
Dear City Council Members and County Commissioners,
The Community Reparations Commission passed their second unanimous recommendation on December 5th, asking the City of Asheville and Buncombe County to formally commit to stop harming Black people in this region. The Commission is asking for an official audit of where the City and County are out of compliance with existing laws that are supposed to protect Black people and eliminate racial injustice. Their request aligns with the truth of trauma-informed intervention: you can’t begin to heal from old wounds when you are still in danger and suffering new wounds every day.
I fully support this recommendation by the Reparations Commission. I am counting on you to quickly put it on your agenda and vote to approve it.
Thanks for your leadership,