Reparations Are Due Updates

January 24th, 2024

At the January 22nd Community Reparations Commission (CRC) meeting there were two important developments:

  • The City of Asheville formally rejected the CRC’s request for an extension of their process through December, saying that they would support the process through the end of June. They left the door open for an extension of their support later on. You can read their full statement here.
  • The Carter Group made a preliminary presentation of the Cease The Harm audit. This audit, recommended by the CRC in late 2022 and approved by the City and County in early 2023, calls for a full accounting of where both governments are continuing to cause harm to Black people in our region. The audit will cover all of the Impact Focus Areas being addressed by the CRC (criminal justice, economic development, education, health and wellness, and housing) and also explores two additional areas of concern: workforce development and the performance of equity departments. The preliminary presentation only outlined 26 of the 70 recommendations the Carter Group plans to submit. One of the reasons the CRC asked for an extension of their timeline was so the audit findings and proposals could be integrated with their own. It remains to be seen if the arbitrarily truncated process the City and County are pushing will allow enough time for that integration, but we will do what we can to support the process. You can see the presentation made by the Carter Group here, and can watch their presentation here.

January 11th, 2024
December 18th, 2023
December 8th, 2023

Our latest updates on the Reparations process are included in our Call to Action around the requested extension request from the Reparations Commission. Read all about it here.

October 4th, 2023

On October 3rd, we invited RJC supporters to join us in putting a critical question to our City and County governments: Are they still committed to reparations explicitly for Black people? RJC supporters were quick to answer our call to action, generating over 3,000 emails to City and County leadership. Because of that, both governments made (almost identical) public statements last night and today. You can find both statements in their entirety below this update. We appreciate that the City and County responded to all of us so quickly, and we deeply appreciate our supporters for stepping up, getting us that speedy response. 

You’re probably wondering what they had to say, and more specifically, whether they answered our critical question and reaffirmed their commitment to reparations for Black people. The answer isn’t as crystal clear as we had hoped for, but it’s a start

To read our full update, click here.

October 3rd, 2023

  • Lawyers representing Asheville and Buncombe County have been telling the Community Reparations Commission (CRC) that they shouldn’t direct recommended resources and programming specifically at Black people. 
  • This completely contradicts the Reparations Resolutions that both the City of Asheville and Buncombe County passed in 2020, which specifically promised reparations to Black people in this region because of the well-documented harms local government had perpetuated.
  • The City and County need to reaffirm their commitment to reparations for Black people. If Black people remain the intended beneficiaries of reparations, they need to make a definitive public statement that affirms that. 
  • Click here for an email template you can use – it only takes a few minutes to add your voice to ours.
  • This call to action has successfully concluded, but you can read more about it here.

September 21st, 2023

Here is the latest news on the Asheville / Buncombe County Reparations process and the RJC Reparations Are Due campaign:

  • The Community Reparations Commission (CRC) met on Monday, September 18th, 2023. They discussed a range of topics, including how to better define their scope of work and clarify what is meant by “local reparations.” They also discussed whether it made sense to advocate for an extension of the deadline for their work. Commissioner Keith Young pointed out that there was no timeline for the Commission specified in the Reparations Resolutions passed by City and County in 2020; the two-year stipulation was added in later on. Some Commissioners felt that it was important that the work of the Commission conclude by April of 2024; others felt that an extension would allow them to do a more comprehensive job, and would also allow for more extensive community engagement, which has been extremely limited so far. The issue did not come to a vote, but will be further discussed at the next meeting. You can watch a recording of the September meeting here. The CRC typically meets on the third Monday of each month. You can check the schedule here. You can read more about the CRC on the City’s website here.
  • The five CRC Impact Focus Area (IFA) groups continue to meet once or twice each month, and it is within these groups that concrete reparations proposals are taking shape and moving toward finalization. Each group has a distinct focus: criminal justice, economic development, education, health and wellness, and housing. All of their meetings are open to the public and the calendar can be found here.
  • The RJC Reparations Are Due campaign passed an important threshold earlier this month, with 2000 folks signed onto The Pledge
  • The next step in the campaign is to keep the folks who signed the pledge up-to-date on the latest happenings in our local reparations process, so they can stand ready to take action when the work of the Community Reparations Commission could be reinforced by our support. Our primary tactic for meeting this goal is the Community Connector program. Community Connectors are folks who have signed The Pledge and are committed to staying in touch with five other Pledge signers. We’re having our first Community Connector Orientation on Zoom next Thursday, September 28th, at 5 pm. We’ll explain what Community Connectors do and provide the support needed to get started. If you are interested, would like more information, and/or would like to join this effort, you can sign up for this call here.