ASHEVILLE, North Carolina – Leaders in Asheville, North Carolina, have taken a historic step to repair centuries of racial prejudice by unanimously voting to provide reparations.
The Asheville City Council voted 7-0 on a resolution on Tuesday night that formally apologized to its Black residents for the city’s role in slavery, discriminatory housing practices, and other racist policies throughout its history.
The measure also calls for a plan to provide reparations to its Black residents in the form of investments in their community such as “increasing minority home ownership,” “increasing minority business ownership and career opportunities,” and “strategies to grow equity and generational wealth,” according to the resolution.
“This process begins and is perpetual, repeating this process over and over again,” Young, who is Black, said in the statement. “There is no completion box to check off.”
The resolution, which was signed by Mayor Esther Manheimer, calls for the creation of a Community Reparations Commission that will be made up of businesses, local groups and elected officials. The commission will issue detailed recommendations, with plans to implement the reparations in the short and long term.
“As far as the timeline goes, we will have some steps to report on within six months and every six months after that,” Young said in a statement.
Asheville has a population of 92,870,. Minorities own roughly 9.7 per cent of the town’s 12,785 businesses, according to Census data.
The council’s resolution also calls on the state and federal governments to come up with their own reparation policies.
“This work does not end and will be adaptive, no matter what governing body holds office or who runs our city,” Young said.