Asheville, North Carolina – In a historic 7-0 vote, the city council of Asheville, the largest city in Western North Carolina, approves a measure to provide reparations to their Black residents.
According to the Asheville’s Wikipedia page, Asheville’s 2010 Census “there were 68,889 people, 30,690 households and 16,726 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,683.4 per square mile (650.0/km2). There were 33,567 housing units at an average density of 820.3 per square mile (316.7/km2). The racial composition of the city was: 77.95% White, 17.61% Black or African American, 3.76% Hispanic or Latino American, 0.92% Asian American, 0.35% Native American, 0.06% Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, 1.53% some other race, and 1.58% two or more races.”
The City of Asheville recently has recently been making headlines with their Blue Lives Matter protest in the downtown square area that was crashed by Black Lives Matter counter-protesters. The racist woman walking through the downtown square area calling people racist slurs.
Now the Asheville Citizen-Times, a part of the USA Today network of papers, is reporting that, “the City Council has apologized for the 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 resolution does not provide direct payments to residents, but will provide investments in resources that will help enhance the quality of life for Black Americans such as: 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.
Council members Keith Young and Sheneika Smith are the only two Black Americans on the city council. “Hundreds of years of black blood spilled that basically fills the cup we drink from today,” said Councilman Keith Young.
Smith has been receiving emails from constituents asking why should they have to pay for what occurred during slavery, and she responded, “(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.”
The city will be creating a Community Reparations Commission to work with local community groups and government offices to make program recommendations and available resources.