Politics have divided America more than ever, but we can all agree 2020 was one chaotic year.
by MacGregor VanBeurden –
There was so much tragedy that much of our success was entirely overlooked. Does anyone remember what good the Black Lives Matter movement brought, or do we just have memories of the (few) violent protests?
The BLM movement brought a wave of much-needed systematic reform, even here in Asheville. In 2020, Asheville became the first government entity ever to approve a reparations project for the local Black community. Months later, what happened to this achievement, as it seemed to disappear?
Toward the end of 2020, the City of Asheville government took this proposal off the agenda. They might not have erased this entirely from their goals, but Asheville put the needs of the local Black community on pause. I understand the financial state Asheville is in due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but Black rights can never wait. That is why I have created the following petition.
My petition is known as the Asheville, NC Minority Reparations Project Petition and proposes two concepts. First, the City of Asheville prioritizes reparations and second, these reparations are designed for a number of local minority groups. Since these reparations were originally for the local Black community, I believe it is important to work in a phased approach starting with Black reparations and then working towards other minorities. To better understand this petition, there are a few key questions to approach.
For starters, why should someone care about a minority they are not even associated with? Obviously, you should never need to ask this question, because minorities are human beings with lives just like you and me. In terms of community importance however, minority rights and protection are essential to preserving the identities and cultures of communities. Preserving these impacts the different aspects which define a community such as the economy, demographics, education, etc.
Think of the vast local food and shopping scene in Asheville that exists because of minority groups. Now think of the contribution that these provide to Asheville by bringing in tax dollars, supporting a booming tourism industry, and providing jobs.
Okay, so what exactly are reparations? Traditionally, these are cash deposits given to a target group to “apologize” for past treatments. However, these have incredibly short-term results; to develop long-term benefits, this definition is modified. Our petition (as originally proposed by Asheville) suggests reparations be programs which are designed to benefit minority groups.
Here is a list of some reparation programs to be included:
- Low-Income & Affordable Housing Projects
- Community College Improvement Programs
- Local Minority-Owned Business Tax Breaks
- City Government Supported Therapy & Counseling Services
- Minority-Based Educational Scholarships
- Disability-Accessibility Funding
- Drug Abuse Prevention Programs
Sign the Petition
The petition is available at www.change.org/avlreparations. Give your support for strengthening our cities minorities by signing this petition today.
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