BY JUSTINE COLEMAN – 07/15/20 01:54 PM
A North Carolina city unanimously voted Tuesday night to make reparations to its Black community by making investments in areas in which Black residents face disparities.
The Asheville City Council voted 7-0 in support support of a resolution that apologized for the city’s participation in slavery, discrimination and urban renewal and vowed to create a Community Reparations Commission to provide reparations to Black residents and their descendants.
The resolution would not provide direct payments to Black people. Instead it would distribute funding to different areas of society that see racial disparities in order to close those gaps, including in health care, education, employment and pay, neighborhood safety and fairness in criminal justice.
Efforts could also include increasing minority home ownership, access to affordable housing, business ownership and career opportunities, according to the resolution.
“It is simply not enough to remove statutes,” Councilman Keith Young, who is Black and promoted the resolution, said during the meeting, the Asheville Citizen Times reported. “Black people in this country are dealing with issues that are systemic in nature.”
The commission created by the resolution would provide “short, medium and long term recommendations that will make significant progress toward repairing the damage caused by public and private Racism.” Local governments and community organizations are welcome to join the commission.
The resolution also calls on the city manager to create recommendations to “address the creation of generational wealth and to boost economic mobility and opportunity in the black community.” The city manager is instructed to give a biannual update to the council on the progress.
Councilman Vijay Kapoor said he supported the resolution for moral reasons and called on critics to look at the “practical reason” that data shows disparities between Black Asheville residents and other residents.
“We don’t want to be held back by these gaps,” Kapoor said, according to the Asheville Citizen Times. “We want everyone to be successful.”