Government Accountability Project Asheville

GAP Report for 2/28/22

Feb 28, 2022

URGENT

  • 0 items

PROBLEMATIC

  • 1 items

CONCERNS

  • 2 items

POSITIVE

  • 0 items

The Buncombe County Commission meets this Tuesday (3/1/22) at 5 pm. You can read the full agenda here.

Here are the items that the GAP Strategy Team identified as relevant to racial justice this week.

q

RED:

Things that seem problematic

Asheville City Council Budget Worksession (February 22, 2022)

This worksession, the first of a series, offered a broad overview of the City’s fiscal situation and budget priorities for the coming year.

While Reparations funding for the current fiscal year was referenced in the summary, there was very limited discussion of it overall, and no indication that it would be included in this year’s budget. The money allocated last year for Reparations is nowhere near sufficient to the task.

Things to do

Contact the Asheville City Council (AshevilleNCCouncil@ashevillenc.gov) and ask them to instruct the City Manager and her staff to include budget proposals for Reparations as the process moves forward.

s

YELLOW:

Things of concern, more information needed

Domestic Violence Fatality Review Team for Buncombe County

After the Buncombe County Domestic Violence Fatality Review Team reported their findings to the County Commission on February 1st, the YWCA, Faith 4 Justice, and the Racial Justice Coalition collaborated with survivors of domestic violence who live at the intersections of racial and gender injustice to develop a letter with some policy proposals for the commissioners.

We support the policy recommendations contained within this letter, which you can read in full here. We encourage the County Commissioners to listen to the wisdom of survivors of color, and particularly Black women, and to carefully consider the guidance offered by the YWCA, Faith 4 Justice, and the Racial Justice Coalition.

Things to do

Contact the Buncombe County Commissioners and encourage them to follow the guidance in the letter. (The Racial Justice Coalition has a sample email that you can personalize and send here.)

Update: City Council delays appointments to the Reparations Commission (Citizen-Times article)

Mayor Esther Manheimer indicated that City Council would make these appointments at their next meeting on March 8th.

As we wrote two weeks ago, there are many strong candidates for these Commission seats, but we want to lift up (again) several in particular that we strongly encourage City Council to select:

  • There are two scholars among the list of applicants that we feel would be indispensable to the Commission’s work: Dr. Tamarie Macon, who has extensive expertise in public health research and who is studying the impact of local reparations here in Asheville; and Dr. Dwight Mullen, whose extensive knowledge and wisdom about racial inequity in this region is rightfully legendary.
  • There are two community leaders who we also want to endorse: Ms. Tiffany Flunory-De’Bellott and Ms. Dewana Little. Ms. Flunory-De’Bellott is well-connected to many overlapping communities through her leadership at the Center for Participatory Change and Hood Huggers International, not to mention her participation in the GAP Strategy Team. She is deeply connected with marginalized and disenfranchised community members and works to inspire connection and healing. Ms. Little is the Executive Director of the YMI Cultural Center, the central cultural hub for Asheville’s Black community. She worked hard throughout the summer of 2020 and beyond to educate community members about the need for reparations, especially within the education system, inspiring community activation.

Things to do

Contact the Asheville City Council (AshevilleNCCouncil@ashevillenc.gov) and encourage them to select Dr. Tamarie Macon, Dr. Dwight Mullen, Ms. Tiffany Flunory-De’Bellott, and Ms. Dewana Little for the Reparations Commission.