Background

On July 14, 2020, the Asheville City Council passed a resolution supporting community reparations for Black Asheville. In an effort to repair the harm done by decades of discrimination, the city manager and city staff have recommended a three-phase process that includes:

  1. Information Sharing and Truth-Telling;

  2. Formation of a Reparations Commission; and

  3. Finalize and Present the Report. 

What's Happening Now

Current Update 10/17/23

Community Reparations Commission Project Management Update

 

During the Oct.17 Community Reparations Commission meeting, Christine Edwards discussed revisions to her role supporting the Commission that will go into effect in November 2023. Ms. Edwards has served as the Project Manager for the Community Reparations Commission since November 2022. Ms. Edwards and her firm, Civility Localized, made significant contributions to the progress made to date with the Community Reparations Commission including providing structure to help guide the development of Impact Focus Area draft recommendations, clarity around the agenda development process for monthly Commission meetings, and has improved communication with Community Reparations Commission members. Ms. Edwards has requested to revise the scope of her role to be more administrative in nature and no longer include the project management aspects of supporting the Commission. 

 

While City and County staff have been pleased with the support provided from Ms. Edwards to date, we also respect her decision to serve in a more administrative capacity and will be working over the next few weeks to revise her contract and finalize roles and responsibilities to support the Community Reparations Commission moving forward. Thanks to the structure and process direction that Ms. Edwards and Civility Localized has established, City and County staff are strategizing options to provide continuity of support with the aim to have staff providing more process support for the Community Reparations Commission. City and County staff will map out roles and responsibilities for Community Reparations Commission facilitation and process management support following Ms. Edwards' transition. 

 

Staff will keep both the Community Reparations Commission, City Council, and County Commission updated on project management support as decisions are made. Staff is committed to maintaining the positive momentum that the Community Reparations Commission currently has and will ensure the Commission continues to receive a high level of support as their work continues.


Current Update 10/04/23

We have heard from the community that there is concern that Asheville and Buncombe County may be advising a departure from the initially agreed-upon race specific reparations.

 

First and foremost, please allow us to unequivocally reiterate the City of Asheville’s and Buncombe County’s firm commitment to the reparations process. This remains a primary goal of the City Council and County Commision, and staff throughout the organization are working alongside the Commission membership to see that the original mission is realized. Although our support for this initiative is unwavering, both the City of Asheville and Buncombe County governments have always been constrained by State and Federal laws which will place some limitations on the final form local reparations will take in our community. City and County staff, specifically from the respective legal departments, have worked with the Commission from the very beginning to ensure that the members have access to the necessary legal advice in order to move their work forward. This includes ensuring the Commission members, and the public at large, understand that certain actions will be beyond our legal and financial authority. This messaging has been consistent throughout the reparations process, and both the City and County legal staff have been diligent in their efforts to assist the Commission with navigating through these legal hurdles.  

 

In the end, the City and County stand with the Commission in focusing on the goal of investing in and empowering Black Asheville through the reparations process. Yes, some proposals may be beyond our legal ability, and working through these challenges is simply part of the complex and important work being done by the Commission, the community, and our local governments. We remain focused on what is possible, rather than what is not.

 

Local governments can not be the complete solution to the problems faced by the Black community, but the City of Asheville and Buncombe County intend to be part of the reparative effort. We intend to do this in a legally defensible manner, but with a clear and unencumbered focus on those individuals identified by the original resolution supporting the reparations effort. 

 

Additionally, we would like to share the bittersweet news that this weekend’s Reparation Summit is sold out. With a deep appreciation for an inclusive and transparent process, the event will be video recorded and shared through this subscriber list along with the opportunity to provide input on the content covered in the summit in the week or two following the summit. 

 
 

Current Update 9/22/232

Community Reparations Summit - Event Sold Out

 

Update 8/18/23 

Join the Community Reparations Commission, City of Asheville, Buncombe County Government, and the University of Asheville Africana Studies program for a Community Reparations Summit featuring keynote speaker George Fatheree

When: Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023 from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.

Where: UNC-Asheville Sherrill Center, 227 Campus Drive, Asheville QR

Hear from leaders and our own local commission about how reparations shapes policy and impacts community across the nation and particularly for Black Asheville.

 

If you have questions, please contact:

Brenda Mills, Director of Equity and Inclusion
Office:  (828) 232.4517 
Email: bmills@ashevillenc.gov

PRIOR UPDATES

 

Update 3/20/23

The next regular meeting of the Community Reparations Commission is scheduled for Monday, April 24, 2023. This is the fourth, not the third Monday due to an event at the venue.  The meeting will be held at Harrah's Cherokee Center Banquet Hall at 87 Haywood Street at 6:00 p.m. Go to the Commission webpage for the agenda and information on how to participate. You can find the full commission meeting schedule and the Impact Focus Area schedule as well.


Update 4/29/22

The Community Reparations Commission kicks off on Saturday, April 30.  You can view the initial meeting below and find information on the meeting on their webpage.  Future meetings will be listed here or on their webpage.


Update 2/09/22

Interviews for the Community Reparations Commission are scheduled for February 15 from 1:30-5:00 p.m.  See the links below to watch or the City's YouTube Channel at www.YouTube.com/CityofAsheville.  Applications can be viewed HERE.


Update 12/30/21

Mailing Address Correction:  Until the Reparations Forms can be updated, please note that the mailing address for the City is P.O. Box 7148, Asheville, NC  28802 - please contact Brenda Mills, Director of Equity and Inclusion, if you have questions.  Apologies for the oversight.


Update 12/21/21

More information sessions are planned for next week and in the new year!  These sessions specifically are to answer questions regarding the Application Process for the Impact Focus Areas and the Community Support Interest.  The sessions are below and registration is required to attend.

Information Session Presentation

 

Here are the printable forms for the Impact Focus Areas (Please allow 10-14 days for the U.S. Mail Delivery or drop off, if possible to the City Manager's Office - 2nd Floor City Hall):

  • Impact Focus Area Application is for the ten (10) seats on the Community Reparations Commission reserved for individuals identified with expertise in one or more of the following impact focus areas:

          1 - Criminal Justice

          2 - Economic Development

          3 - Education

          4 - Healthcare

          5 - Housing

 

  • Community Support Interest Form provides the City of Asheville a list of individuals and/or community-based organizations interested in supporting the work of the Community Reparations Commission.  Check out the form for types of support.

 

ONLINE FORMS (Preferred, if possible):

 

 

NEIGHBORHOOD CANDIDATE INTEREST FORM:

See all other forms below.  A reminder that the Neighborhood Representatives will be provided by the historically impacted neighborhoods.  


Posted 11/19/21

Nomination and Application forms are here!  

 

PRINTABLE FORMS:

  • Reparations Participation Introduction explains the process for Neighborhood and Impact Focus Area nominations, how you can support the work of this process, a timeline of the entire process.
  • Neighborhood Candidate Interest Form should be completed and submitted to the neighborhood group(s) selected for review.  The City of Asheville is not involved in this process of selection.
  • Impact Focus Area Application is for the ten (10) seats on the Community Reparations Commission reserved for individuals identified with expertise in one or more of the following impact focus areas:

          1 - Criminal Justice

          2 - Economic Development

          3 - Education

          4 - Healthcare

          5 - Housing

  • Community Support Interest Form provides the City of Asheville a list of individuals and/or community-based organizations interested in supporting the work of the Community Reparations Commission.  Check out the form for types of support.

 

ONLINE FORMS (Preferred, if possible):


Posted 11/16/21

The City of Asheville Reparations Initiative is seeking nominations and applications for the Community Reparations Commission.

 

Information Sessions to Learn More:

The City will have three informational meetings for the community to ask questions about the process. Registration is required to attend

 

Applications will open on November 19. Nominations and applications will be accepted through Wednesday, December 22.


Posted October 19, 2021

TEQuity LLC will provide an update to the Board of Commissioners at their meeting today at 5:00 p.m.  The meeting can be seen live at facebook.com/buncombegov.  

 

The nomination and application process survey is now open!  We will be sending notifications.  Thanks in advance for your participation.


Posted October 12, 2021

Asheville City Council at their meeting on October 12, 2021, heard an update on the Reparations Process by the chosen Reparations Process Project Manager, TEQuity LLC.  The presentation can be found here


Posted September 22, 2021

Asheville City Council at their meeting on August 24, 2021, heard an update on the status of the Reparations Process. The City of Asheville has chosen TEQuity LLC as the project manager for the Reparations Process. The contract was approved at their meeting on September 14, 2021.

 

TEQuity is an African-American-owned management consulting firm specializing in advancing equity through the use of project management services, strategic planning, technology, and analytics. The contract for the Reparations Process Project Management is finalized.

 

Look for more information on the process for selection of the Reparations Commission and how members of the community can be involved.


Posted July 27, 2021

The City of Asheville is looking for professional project management services to provide comprehensive management, coordination, and support services throughout the development of and work of the Reparations Commission. Visit http://ashevillenc.gov/bids to review the Project Manager request for proposals. 

 

The project manager will play an important role in coordination with city staff in developing a process for the City Council and County Commission to appoint members of the commission.  The Reparations Commission will include representatives from neighborhoods that were impacted by policies and practices that created disparities.

 

We acknowledge that the goal for the development of the commission was stated as August 2021; however, this deadline is likely not feasible to meet.  We are committed to allowing enough time for meaningful appointments to the commission. This will include those impacted by public and private systemic racism.

 

The Sharing and Truth-Telling Speaker Series is completed. Recordings of the events and comments from the events can be found below.


Posted July 27, 2021

Information Sharing and Truth-Telling Speaker Series

In June 2021, a series of local and national speakers came together to share information and facilitated discussions with the community members about past policies and practices, present trends and disparities, and future initiatives.

 

The Information Sharing and Truth-Telling Speaker Series are completed. Information received during this series will be used to inform the next steps of the Reparations process, which will be the development of the Reparations Commission and the scope of work of the Reparations Commission. 

 

Click the links below for all comments and questions captured during the Speaker Series: 

Past Policies and Practices - June 3, 2021

Present Trends and Disparities - June 10, 2021

Future Initiatives - June 17, 2021


Posted July 9, 2021

Input from the Speaker Series is being compiled and will be posted soon.


Posted May 14, 2021

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:

  1. Information Sharing and Truth-Telling;
  2. Formation of a Reparations Commission; and
  3. Finalize and Present the Report. 

 

Phase 1: Information Sharing and Truth-Telling

May 2021 - June 2021

A Series of local and national speakers will come together to share information and facilitate discussions with the community members about past policies and practices, present trends and disparities, and future initiatives to: 

  • Provide a better understanding of policy impacts and where those impacts occurred
  • Identify and understand current disparities and areas that need focus
  • Identify barriers to addressing generational wealth 
  • Inspire our community to identify collaborative opportunities to create a more equitable Asheville

 

Phase 2: Formation of the Reparations Commission

July 2021 - August 2021

The Reparations Commission will be 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. 

  • 11-13 Representatives from neighborhoods and areas that were impacted by policies and practices that created disparities
    • Neighborhoods/areas selected will be informed by phase 1
  • 10-12 Broad Community Sector Representatives
    • Appointed by City Council and County Commission 
  • The Commission will address disparities based on key focus areas: 
    • Housing
    • Economic Development
    • Public Health
    • Education
    • Public Safety and Justice

 

Phase 3: Presentation of Report from the Reparations Commission

January 2022 - April 2023

The Reparations Commission will present recommendations to the City Council and the community that: 

  • Advance key strategies in a timely manner
  • Align with the City and County budget process
  • Develop funding and implementation strategies
  • Schedule for Commission deliverables: 
    • Short-term recommendations: January 2022
    • Medium-term recommendations: July 2022
    • Long-term recommendations: January 2023
    • Final report March/April 2023