Asheville North Carolina just made history and voted to approve paying reparations to black residents negatively impacted by the town’s past policies and their descendants.
“The resulting budgetary and programmatic priorities may include but not be limited to increasing minority home ownership 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,” the resolution reads.
From USA Today: In an extraordinary move, the Asheville City Council has apologized for the North Carolina city’s historic role in slavery, discrimination and denial of basic liberties to Black residents and voted to provide reparations to them and their descendants.
The 7-0 vote came the night of July 14.
“Hundreds of years of Black blood spilled that basically fills the cup we drink from today,” said Councilman Keith Young, one of two African American members of the body and the measure’s chief proponent.
“It is simply not enough to remove statutes. Black people in this country are dealing with issues that are systemic in nature.”
The unanimously passed resolution does not mandate direct payments. Instead, it will make investments in areas where Black residents face disparities…
…The resolution calls on the city to create the Community Reparations Commission, inviting community groups and other local governments to join. It will be the commission’s job to make concrete recommendations for programs and resources to be used.
Councilwoman Sheneika Smith, who is Black, said the council had gotten emails from those “asking, ‘Why should we pay for what happened during slavery?'”
“(Slavery) is this institution that serves as the starting point for the building of the strong economic floor for white America, while attempting to keep Blacks subordinate forever to its progress,” Smith said.
Councilman Vijay Kapoor, who has often split with Young and Smith on police and budget issues, said he supported the measure for moral reasons. But he said skeptics could look to the “practical reason”: data showing large disparities between African Americans and other Asheville residents.
“We don’t want to be held back by these gaps,” Kapoor said. “We want everyone to be successful.”
WHEREAS, Black People have been denied housing through racist practices in the private realty market, including redlining, steering, blockbusting, denial of mortgages, and gentrification; and
WHEREAS, Black People have been denied housing, displaced and inadequately housed by government housing policies that include discriminatory VA/FHA practices, urban renewal, and a variety of local and federal “affordable” housing programs; and
WHEREAS, Black People have been consistently and widely impoverished by discriminatory wages paid in every sector of the local economy regardless of credentials and experience; and
WHEREAS, Black People have experienced disproportionate unemployment rates and reduced opportunities to fully participate in the local job market; whereas, Black People have been systematically excluded from historic and present private economic development and community investments and, therefore, black-owned businesses have not received the benefits of these investments; and
WHEREAS, Black people have been segregated from mainstream education and within present day school programs that include AG, AP, and Honors; and
Whereas, Black students have experienced the denial of education through admission, retention and graduation rates of every level of education in WNC and through discriminatory disciplinary practices; and
WHEREAS, Black People historically and presently receive inadequate, if not detrimental, health care as exemplified by disproportionate morbidities and mortality rates thatresult from the generational trauma of systemic racism, discriminatory treatment by medical professionals, and discriminatory medical practices such as involuntary sterilizations, denial of adequate testing, denial of preventative and curative procedures; and
WHEREAS, Black People have been unjustly targeted by law enforcement and criminal justice procedures, incarcerated at disproportionate rates and subsequently excluded from full participation in the benefits of citizenship that include voting, employment, housing and healthcare; and
WHEREAS, Black People have disproportionately been forced to reside in, adjacent to, or near Brown Zones and other toxic sites that negatively impact their health and property; and
WHEREAS, Black People have disproportionately been limited to the confined routes of travel provided by public transportation; and
WHEREAS, Black People have disproportionately suffered from the isolation of food deserts and childcare deserts;
WHEREAS, systemic racism was created over centuries and will take time to dismantle;
WHEREAS, state and federal governments have a responsibility to adopt programs, policies, and funding to address reparations;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF ASHEVILLE THAT The City Council of the CIty of Asheville:
(1) apologizes and makes amends for its participation in and sanctioning of the enslavement of Black People;
(2) apologizes and makes amends for its enforcement of segregation and its accompanying discriminatory practices;
(3) apologizes and makes amends for carrying out an urban renewal program that destroyed multiple, successful black communities;
(4) calls on other organizations and institutions in Asheville that have advanced and benefitted from racial inequity to join the city in its apologies and invites them to address racism within their own structures and programs and to work with the city to more comprehensively address systemic racism;
(5) calls on the State of North Carolina and the federal government to initiate policymaking and provide funding for reparations at the state and national levels;
(6) directs the City Manager to establish a process within the next year to develop short, medium and long term recommendations to specifically address the creation of generational wealth and to boost economic mobility and opportunity in the black community;
(7) fully supports its equity department, staff and its work, and encourages the city manager to utilize their talents when forming policy and programs that will establish the creation of generational wealth and address reparations due in the black community as mentioned above;
(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. Other local government community.
In an extraordinary move, Asheville City Council has said it will provide reparations for Black residents for historic wrongs, including slavery and discrimination. https://t.co/6mEEtNQinJ
— The Citizen Times (@asheville) July 15, 2020