What would I do as a Community Connector?
You would connect with five or more community members around the Reparations Are Due (RAD) Pledge. These could be folks that you identify, people you already know and are connected to in some way, or RJC can provide you with a list of people to connect with who have signed the RAD pledge already. We’ll also provide you with a short script, so you have some guidance on what to say once you make contact. Your goal will be to give them an update on the RAD pledge campaign and the Reparations process, and to invite them to receive further updates as the process proceeds. When the Community Reparations Commission (CRC) comes out with their recommendations, and we need Pledge signers to take action, you’ll rally your folks to take action together with you and the rest of us who are committed to racial justice in our region.
What do I need to do to become a Community Connector?
All you need to do is fill out a short application form. Once you do, we’ll reach out to invite you to an orientation session where we’ll go over next steps together!
In the application form, you’ll tell us whether you already have folks in mind that you plan to reach out to, or if you’d like us to give you a list of pledge signers to connect with. You can do some of both if you prefer.
If you want to engage people you know, you don’t need to share their full names or contact information, just something about who they are, how you know them, and what your plan for approaching them is. For example: “I’ll reach out by text to my sister Sally, my friend John, and the folks that are on the social justice team at my church. If I don’t hear back from any of them, I’ll bring it up the next time I’m with them.”
When should I get started?
We’re currently testing out the process of community connecting, but will be ready to launch in the next week or so.
In the mean time, you can start talking to people about the pledge now! There are a number of things you can do to engage others. Check out the Pledge Sharing Guide for some suggestions.
You can also share the Pledge with organizations you belong to, and encourage them to endorse the Pledge. Check out our Reparations Are Due Pledge for Organizations page.
Why does the RAD campaign need Community Connectors?
To make sure our community stays ready to support local reparations when critical political decision-points arrive.
As you know, the initial goal of the RAD campaign has been to find the folks who share our commitment to a successful reparations process in Asheville and Buncombe County. We’re getting close to our target of 2000 pledge signers by September 1st, and one goal of the Community Connector program is to help boost that number.
The larger goal, though, has always been to activate those folks down the line, when the CRC shares its final recommendations. At that point, attention will shift to the Asheville City Council and Buncombe County Commission, who will be voting on whether to approve those recommendations or not. They are likely to get considerable pushback from various voices, both in our community and beyond, who are threatened by and hostile to the idea of reparations for Black people. If they are going to stand strong in their commitment to follow the leadership of the CRC, they’re going to need to hear from those of us who believe that reparations are just, reparations are needed, reparations are due.
The Racial Justice Coalition will be sending that message as loudly and clearly as we can! But we know that there will be limits to how many people will hear us. Even among those who have signed the Pledge, emails will be missed, social media posts won’t be seen. We all get so much information thrown at us all the time, it’s easy for things to pass us by! That’s where the Community Connectors will play their most pivotal role. They’ll reach out directly to the folks they’ve identified and make sure that they’re hearing the call to action. They’ll make sure that folks know that the critical moment to take action has arrived.