Black community members need direct representation on the Reparations Commission

The Asheville City Manager’s Office is soliciting bids for a “Reparations Process Project Manager” that will oversee the formation of the Community Reparations Commission. A critical piece of the City Manager’s initial plan for this Commission, rolled out in February of this year, was that Black community members from impacted neighborhoods would be invited to select their own representatives to the Commission. Designing a process that community members will trust and participate in, while simultaneously meeting the project’s tight timeline, is likely to be one of the most challenging tasks for this new Project Manager. And yet there is nothing in the Request for Proposals that describes this challenge. Instead, there is the strong implication that the Community Reparations Commission will be formed like most government commissions or committees, by setting up an application process, putting together a list of “recommended” candidates, and then having City and County officials make all the selections.

Click here for an email template that stresses the importance of true representation of Black community members on the Reparations Commission.

(If you have issues with the link above, scroll down the page for the email template that you can copy and paste.)

We invite you to personalize this and add any particular questions or proposed solutions that you feel are important for the City Manager to consider. You can also use these points to communicate with her office over the phone. Scroll down for more information on RJC’s Every Black Voice vision, which explains the importance of community representation in greater depth.

Email Template

To: dcampbell@ashevillenc.gov

Dear Ms. Campbell,

In February of this year you unveiled your plan for the Community Reparations Commission, which was to include a majority of representatives chosen by the members of impacted neighborhoods. Is this still the plan? If so, I encourage you to specify that in your Request for Proposals for a Reparations Process Project Manager. If you have changed the plan you presented, then I urge you to reconsider. Reparations cannot be meaningfully achieved by a Commission that is formed without direct representation of the communities that have been harmed. Reparations can only be meaningfully achieved through a healing-centered process that is driven by local Black community members.

Sincerely,

To call the City Manager’s office: 828-259-5604

Click here to read the full Request for Proposals for the Reparations Process Project Manager. 
Getting real representation on the Community Reparations Commission is a critical component of the Every Black Voice vision. To watch a video that outlines this vision, and to sign the pledge of support, please visit EveryBlackVoice.org.