In advance of passing Resolution 20-128, Councilman Keith Young said the death of George Floyd this year underscored the need to boldly face racial inequities and take action that outlives the emotions of this moment.
“It is simply not enough to remove statues. Black people in this country are dealing with issues that are systemic in nature,” Young explained.
The resolution calls on the city to establish a Community Reparations Commission that will focus on budgetary priorities that seek to increase minority home ownership, increase minority business ownership and career opportunities, as well as strategies that will close the gaps in health care, education, employment and pay.
“I don’t want to be made whole from the shuffling of money that another elected body can change at the drop of a dime. I want generations to be made whole,” said Young.
Councilwoman Sheneika Smith called the resolution a first step in acknowledging the historic wrongs that have been perpetuated against the Black community.
“Reparations is more than restitution for what happened during the transatlantic slave trade. It is a dark evil sin of chattel slavery that is the root of all injustice and inequity at work in American life today,” asserted Smith.
“I wish that our educational system would have done a greater job at revealing the origins and the lasting impacts of the many dimensions of racism.”
Earlier this month, Wake County Commissioners took a step forward by declaring racism a public health crisis.
Click below to watch Asheville’s City Council discuss the resolution (starting around the 2:37 mark):