There are no meetings of either the Buncombe County Commission or the Asheville City Council this week.
The Community Reparations Commission will hold their next meeting this evening, Monday, November 7th, 2022, from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm. The meeting is being held at the Harrah’s Cherokee Center Banquet Hall at 87 Haywood Street in Asheville. The public is welcome to attend the entire session. The meeting will be recorded and streamed here.
Use our prepared email template to take action on this week’s item.
Things of concern, more information needed
Buncombe County Health and Human Services (HHS) Board Regular Monthly Meeting, October 28th, 2022: Formation of “Racial Equity Team” for Social Work Department and all staff training
At the most recent HHS meeting, it was disclosed that the Social Work department had formed a “Racial Equity Team” and is making efforts to collect better demographic information. It was also shared that the entire HHS staff will be going through some sort of race-related training.
These sound like positive developments, and are consistent with Buncombe County’s naming of racism as a public health crisis. We would like to know more specifics about these initiatives. We wonder: what is the nature of the Social Work Department “racial equity team?” What demographic information are they collecting? Who is running the race-related training for HHS staff? Finally, how do these steps connect to the County’s Equity and Human Rights Department and other departments within the County government?
Things to do
We encourage you to reach out to Health and Human Services Director Stoney Blevins and Social Work Services Division Director Rebecca Smith and ask them to share more specific information about the new team, the new approach to collecting demographic information, and the plan for a department-wide training. Click here for an email template or see below for a list of email addresses and a sample email you can adapt and send them.
EMAIL TEMPLATE TEXT
You can open this email in your own email program by clicking here. To proceed manually, you can modify the text below and then address your email to these two Health and Human Services leaders: email@example.com, Rebecca.Smith@buncombecounty.org
Subject: Can you share more information on racial equity initiatives?
Dear Mr. Blevins and Ms. Smith,
I was encouraged to hear about several racial equity related initiatives that were shared at your most recent monthly HHS Board meeting, but wondered if you would share more specific information about them. A Social Work Department “racial equity team” sounds like a good idea, but what is the nature and scope of this team? Similarly, I’m glad you all are making efforts to better collect demographic information, and would like to know more about how you are going about it. Also: who is running the race-related training for the full HHS staff team? Finally: how do these steps connect to the County’s Equity and Human Rights Department and other departments within the County government?
Thanks for your leadership,