ASHEVILLE, NC (FOX Carolina) – Tuesday night, Asheville City Council unanimously passed a resolution supporting reparations for its African American residents.
Councilman Keith Young made opening remarks about the proposed resolution saying in part, "Anything we do, in my mind, has to out live the emotions of this present moment." Young went on to say, "Anything less than systemic change is just feel good politics in the moment."
Each city council member took turns making opening remarks on how they support the resolution. Following their opening statements, the council took turns reading a portion of the resolution.
The resolution, titled Supporting Community Reparations for Black Asheville, calls for the city to take these nine steps:
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 benefited 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 policy-making 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 organizations may also be invited to have representation on the Commission.The task of the Community Reparations Commission is to issue a report in a timely manner for consideration by the City and other participating community groups for incorporation into their respective short and long term priorities and plans. Accountability for achieving equity will be enforced in the appropriate offices. The report and 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;
(9) calls on the city manager to give, at minimum, a bi-annual update to the city council on the progress of work performed pursuant to this resolution.
Following a reading of the resolution, city council allowed an hour of public comments before voting on the bill. The resolution was passed unanimously 7-0.
Many people who were not able to speak publicly before the vote, spoke following the vote in another public comment period. Most comments were in support of the measure now passed by the city council.
To watch the city council meeting in full, click here.
Read the full resolution below: