Buncombe County needs to Commit to Reparations on July 19th

Support the Reparations Commission by emailing County officials

Update #2: Last week, Buncombe County Commission Chair Brownie Newman gave an update to the Citizen-Times on the County’s plans for funding Reparations into the future: “We plan to discuss the proposal around longer term investments at our next Commission meeting… My expectation is that the Commission will support a long-term commitment to invest in community reparations such as increasing minority homeownership and helping grow more minority owned businesses in Asheville and Buncombe County.” 

It’s important that the other County Commissioners join Chairman Newman in this stance. Will you reach out today? Here is a template you can adapt and use to contact them.

Click here for an email template you can personalize and send

If you prefer to copy and paste, here is the text we are suggesting:

Email Template

To: brownie.newman@buncombecounty.org, jasmine.beach-ferrara@buncombecounty.org, alfred.whitesides@buncombecounty.org, amanda.edwards@buncombecounty.org, terri.wells@buncombecounty.org, robert.pressley@buncombecounty.org, parker.sloan@buncombecounty.org

Subject: Buncombe County Needs to Commit to Reparations

Dear County Commission Member,

According to a report in the Citizen-Times, the Buncombe County Commission will discuss making a long-term commitment to Reparations at the July 19th meeting. The Community Reparations Commission requested this commitment because it will support them in taking on the challenging task ahead of them, by offering them some idea of future funding possibilities. I am writing to urge you to support this important step toward justice and healing. 

Thank you for your time and service,

Your Name

Update 1: The Community Reparations Commission unanimously passed their first motion on May 23rd and then confirmed it on June 6, requesting that both Asheville and Buncombe County allocate money to a Reparations Fund in their budgets this year, and declare the intention for this to continue in future budgets. The Asheville City Manager has responded to this request and will propose at the Tuesday, June 14th City Council meeting that the Reparations allocation for this year increase by $135,000, for a total of $500,000. In addition, she will suggest that the City plan to continue that level of funding with future budgets.

We think the City can afford more for Reparations (see below), but what’s even more urgent right now is for the Buncombe County Commission to make their future budgetary intentions known. Will they follow the example of the City and designate Reparations as an ongoing funding priority, perhaps with an annual goal that matches their planned allocation this year of $2 million?

The RJC did an analysis of the past ten years of City Council and Buncombe County budgets, and found that the City and County could have set aside $42 million during that time for Reparations, without pulling money from other priorities or draining their reserve funds. Going forward, assuming that both budgets grow at a similar pace, they could pledge $321 million to Reparations over the next 13 years, once again without having to sacrifice other programs or dropping below the required fund balance. These numbers are speculative and approximate, but the point is that both the City and County have money they could be setting aside for Reparations right now and into the future. Doing so would send a powerful message to both the Community Reparations Commission and the communities they serve: that Asheville and Buncombe County are serious about paying their Reparations debt.

For more information on the Community Reparations Commission, check out their webpage.