The next meeting of the Community Reparations Commission is scheduled for Monday, September 18, 2023, from 6-8 p.m. at the Harrah’s Cherokee Center Banquet Hall, 87 Haywood Street in downtown Asheville.
The Commission’s meeting agendas, generally posted 3-5 days prior to the meeting, can be found at www.ashevillenc.gov/department/city-clerk/boards-and-commissions/reparations-commission.
At the September meeting the Commission will be reviewing recommendations, hear an update on Data Requests and information on the upcoming October 2023 Summit.
The meeting agenda, generally posted 5-7 days prior to the meeting, can be found at www.ashevillenc.gov/department/city-clerk/boards-and-commissions/reparations-commission.
The Community Reparations Commission will host a summit the week of October 2-7, 2023. Several historical films about Asheville will be shown followed by a panel discussion and Q&A. The summit is scheduled for Saturday, October 7 from 10 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. The Commission and the City and County are pleased that this event is held in collaboration with UNCA’s Africana Studies Office of Multicultural Affairs, and the Center for Diversity Education.
Where to Watch
All meetings will be streamed on the City’s YouTube Page, Buncombe County’s Facebook page, and the City’s Engagement HUB. You can hear more about the work of the Impact Focus groups on WRES radio’s “Buncombe County’s Tapped In” show every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 11:30 until noon at wresfm.com.
Follow the Community Reparations Commission’s progress as they work to make short, medium, and long-term recommendations to Asheville City Council and the Buncombe County Commissioners. You can access the Reparations Project Page at PublicInput.com/avlreparations.
Regular Scheduled Meetings
The regular meeting schedule is the third Monday at 6:00 p.m. and will be held at Harrah’s Cherokee Center Banquet Hall located at 87 Haywood Road, Asheville (downtown). Members of the public are welcome to attend.
On September 14, 2020, the Asheville City Council passed a resolution supporting community reparations for Black Asheville. The resolution calls for 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.”
The Community Reparations Commission is 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. The task of the 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-term and long-term priorities and plans.
Definitions of reparations include:
- “The action of repairing something”
- “The making of amends for wrong or injury done”
- “The making of amends for a wrong one has done, by paying money to or otherwise helping those who have been wronged”
In an effort to repair the harm done by decades of discrimination, the city manager and city staff have recommended a 3 phase process that includes: Information Sharing and Truth-Telling; Formation of a Reparations Commission; and Finalize and Present the Report.
The members of the Reparations Commission were appointed by Asheville City Council on March 8, 2022 and the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners on March 15, 2022.
Impact Focus Area Meetings
Commission members will serve on at least one of the five Impact Focus Area workgroups based on the charge in the City Council’s resolution:
- Criminal Justice
- Economic Development
- Health & Wellness
Work groups are responsible for analyzing detailed information on the impact focus area and reporting key findings to the full commission. Each work group will be comprised of fewer than 13 voting members. Commission members may serve on more than one work group.
Criminal Justice – Reducing racial disparities in the justice system including the disproportionate arrest of Black individuals and discriminatory policing practices. Meets the 2nd and 3rd Wednesday at 6 p.m. at the Montford Community Center.
Economic Development – Reducing disparities in Black business ownership, reconciling land ownership and the distribution of wealth, and addressing ongoing funding for Reparations. Meets the 1st Thursday at 6 p.m. at the Burton Street Community Center.
Education – Expanding access to quality education and reducing the opportunity and achievement gaps in the local public school systems. Meets the 2nd and 4th Tuesday at the YWCA of Asheville.
Health & Wellness – Reducing racial health disparities, including infant mortality rates in the Black community. Meets every other Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. at Stephens Lee Recreation Center.
Housing – Increasing Black home ownership and other strategies to build generational wealth within the Black community. Meets the 2nd Tuesday at the Grant Center.
Watch past meetings and stay up-to-date at publicinput.com/avlreparations.
For the latest information, go to www.ashevillenc.gov/department/city-clerk/boards-and-commissions/reparations-commission.