Asheville North Carolina Approves Reparations for Black Residents

Asheville North Carolina Council Approves Reparations for Black Residents

By Allen Swanson.    Truth Matters NP                                         July 16, 2020

The City Council of Asheville, North Carolina, has unanimously voted to apologize for the city’s historic role in slavery, discrimination, and denial of basic liberties to Black residents.  It also voted to provide “reparations” in the form of funding for programs designed to provide housing, business and career opportunities to Black residents.

Asheville is a city of 93,000 with a Black population reported to be 11.7%.  Asheville is generally considered a liberal area, particularly when considering it is located in the western part of North Carolina.  It’s council of seven, includes two black members.

The vote took place during a lengthy Council meeting on July 14.  During the meeting there were extensive comments presented by Council members and the public.  The comments from the public were for the most part supportive of the resolution.  There were those who were opposed.  The Citizen Times of Asheville reported the following:

A few callers spoke against reparations, one linking it to a Venezuelan government plot and others saying Black Lives Matter was Marxist.

“My white privilege is I grew up on a farm, we milked cows, we bailed hay.  That was my white privilege,” said a man… 

Councilwoman Julie Mayfield said the resolution was “an important first step in starting to right hundreds of years of wrongs and to repair the damage done during that time.”

Keith Young, one of the Black members of Council expressed that the discussion of reparations will not end with the vote.  He stated: “We are seeking to embed systemic solutions into a systemic problem.  This process begins and is perpetual, repeating, this process over and over again.”  Young further stated: “This work does not end, and will be adaptive, no matter what governing body holds office or who runs our city.”

The resolution identifies eight specific actions to be taken by the City Council of the City of Asheville.

The first four consist of statements apologizing and making        “amends” for Enslavement of Black People, segregating, and displacement of Black communities.  It further calls on others who have benefited from “racial inequity“ to apologize and “address systemic racism.”

The fifth action calls on state and federal government to take similar actions.

The remaining three actions are related to addressing “the creation of generational wealth and to boost economic mobility and opportunity in the black Community.”

The final action reads:

(8) seeks to establish within the next year, a new commission empowered to make short, medium and long term recommendations that will make significant progress toward repairing the damage caused by public and private systemic Racism.    

Continuing:  The report and the resulting budgetary and programmatic priorities may include but not be limited to increasing minority homeownership and access to other affordable housing, increasing minority business ownership and career opportunities, strategies to grow equity and generational wealth, closing the gaps in health care, education, employment and pay, neighborhood safety and fairness within criminal justice.

A provision for reporting results completes the resolution.

Link to the resolution: