North Carolina is on the move.
As I covered last month, the state’s governor ordered confederate statues removed after others were toppled by protestors. Roy Cooper thought it was the right thing to do for “public safety”:
I have ordered the Confederate monuments on the Capitol grounds be moved to protect public safety. I am concerned about the dangerous efforts to pull down and carry off large, heavy statues and the strong potential for violent clashes at the site. (1/3)
— Governor Roy Cooper (@NC_Governor) June 20, 2020
One city now continues the attempt at improvement via the Resolution Supporting Community Reparations for Black Asheville (RSCRBA).
The measure — which passed in the city council 7-0, won’t involve direct payments from select citizens to others, but it will favor black areas with investments.
From the RSCRBA:
The resulting budgetary and programmatic priorities may include but not be limited to increasing minority home ownership and access to other affordable housing, increasing minority business ownership and career opportunities, strategies to grow equity and generational wealth, closing the gaps in health care, education, employment and pay, neighborhood safety and fairness within criminal justice.
What does all that mean?
Well, as per the Citizen Times, the city will create the Community Reparations Commission and invite civic groups and local government to join. The Commission will “make concrete recommendations for programs and resources to be used.”
One of the initiative’s chief proponents, Councilman Keith Young, pointed to that hottest of hot topics as of late — systemic racism:
“Hundreds of years of black blood spilled that basically fills the cup we drink from today. It is simply not enough to remove statutes. Black people in this country are dealing with issues that are systemic in nature.”
According to Councilwoman Sheneika Smith, some residents had sent emails asking why they should “pay for what happened during slavery.”
Sheneika served up an answer:
“(Slavery) is this institution that serves as the starting point for the building of the strong economic floor for white America, while attempting to keep blacks subordinate forever to its progress.”
The Racial Justice Coalition led the charge for reparations; the group’s community liaison Rob Thomas gave the council a big Thank You:
“This is a really, really good gesture as far as the foundation of what we can build. The potential of what can come out of this document is amazing.”
The council allowed an hour-long comment period before and after the vote, and white West Asheville resident Eddy was none too much for the whole idea:
“My white privilege is I grew up on a farm, we milked cows, we bailed hay. That was my white privilege.”
But David Greenson is pleased as punch — he believes whites need to give to black people because “our souls are in jeopardy.”
In 2017, as you may or may not know, fleeing black Asheville resident Johnnie Rush was punched in the head and tasered by police after repeated jaywalking (for much more on that incident, see here).
The way David sees it, he himself was to blame:
“I am responsible for the beating of Johnnie Rush in August of 2017. I may not have hit him or tased him or choked him, but I paid the man who did.”
The resolution sounds like David’s chance for penance.
Via the document, the city admits it’s committed a bunch of terrible acts against black people. As per the language, black residents, in part:
- have been consistently and widely impoverished by discriminatory wages paid in every sector of the local economy regardless of credentials and experience
- have experienced disproportionate unemployment rates and reduced opportunities to fully participate in the local job market
- have been systematically excluded from historic and present private economic development and community investments and, therefore, black-owned businesses have not received the benefits of these investments
- have been segregated from mainstream education and within present day school programs that include AG, AP, and Honors
- historically and presently receive inadequate, if not detrimental, health care as exemplified by disproportionate morbidities and mortality rates that result from the generational trauma of systemic racism, discriminatory treatment by medical professionals, and discriminatory medical practices such as involuntary sterilizations, denial of adequate testing, denial of preventative and curative procedures
- have been unjustly targeted by law enforcement and criminal justice procedures, incarcerated at disproportionate rates and subsequently excluded from full participation in the benefits of citizenship that include voting, employment, housing and health care
- have disproportionately been forced to reside in, adjacent to, or near Brown Zones and other toxic sites that negatively impact their health and property
That’s a lot — and that ain’t all. For the full list, see the bottom of this page.
So what do you think? Will this mend Asheville, North Carolina? And if the government’s guilty of all the above, why isn’t everyone abdicating their offices?
It seems to me it’d be the right thing to do.
I guess we’ll see if they come to believe so as well. Set your stopwatches.
In the meantime, do you believe this is the tip of an American legislative revolution? Let us all know in the Comments section.
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