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Buncombe County moves to follow Asheville in making reparations

Buncombe County moves to follow Asheville in making reparations
Two weeks after Asheville made national headlines for voting on a resolution providing reparations for the Black community, Buncombe County commissioners are proposing a similar initiative. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)

Two weeks after Asheville made national headlines for voting on a resolution providing reparations for the Black community, Buncombe County commissioners are proposing a similar initiative.

AshevilLe City Council unanimously approved the resolution earlier this month, following weeks of protests after the killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis.

The resolution recognizes the injustices of centuries and attempts to right the wrongs. It is an apology to Black residents for the city's role in slavery, discriminatory housing practices, and other racist policies throughout history.

REPARATIONS RESOLUTION PASSED BY ASHEVILLE CITY COUNCIL MAKES NATIONAL HEADLINES

Now, other cities across the United States are following Asheville’s lead.

Providence, Rhode Island, Mayor Jorge Elorza signed an executive order to provide reparations for residents of African-American heritage and indigenous people.

“The truth process is going to have us look not just at the experience of slavery but beyond that as well to the experience of Jim Crowe, housing discrimination and structural racism that pervades every aspect of or society,” Elorza said.

In Richmond, Virginia, Mayor Levar Stoney also hopes to make amends with the Black community by commemorating parts of the city involved in the slave trade.

“For Asheville to be the first, it certainly isn’t surprising,” Buncombe County Commissioner Amanda Edwards said.

'THE CHANGE WE ARE WITNESSING RIGHT NOW IS HISTORIC,' ASHEVILLE CITY COUNCILMAN SAYS

Next week, Buncombe County commissioners will also be making an historic vote.

Edwards is one of three commissioners who requested a reparations resolution.

“Our communities of color that are most impacted by structural racism and inequities have asked for us to hear them and respond to their requests,” Edwards said.

Edwards said the proposal is unique to Buncombe County and included funding ways to close opportunity gaps in education, housing and health.

“We are truly committed to listening and bettering the lives of our communities of color and working towards a more equitable and just community,” Edwards said.

Commissioners will vote on the proposal during the Aug. 4 meeting.

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