The Asheville City Council meets at 5 pm this Tuesday, March 14th in the Council Chamber on the 2nd Floor of City Hall at 70 Court Plaza in downtown Asheville. You can watch the meeting online here. The full agenda is linked here.
The Community Reparations Commission will hold their next meeting Monday, March 20th 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. Meeting materials will be available here. 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
Asheville City Council Agenda: New Business B. Boards & Commissions (Council to determine who, if any, to interview) (Overview document)
The City has 35 new applicants for vacancies on the following Boards and Commissions
- Asheville Area Riverfront Redevelopment Commission (Three applications for one vacancy – application documents available here)
- Audit Committee (One application for two vacancies – application documents available here)
- Downtown Commission (Nine applications for two vacancies – application documents available here)
- Homeless Initiative Advisory Committee (Nine applications for one vacancy – application documents available here)
- Multimodal Transportation Commission (Thirteen applications for one vacancy – application documents available here)
We want to call attention to the fact that of a total applicant pool of 35, there are only four applicants of color, and only one Black applicant. This is not a new phenomenon – it is our impression that City Boards and Commissions tend to have a disproportionate percentage of white people sitting on them. We are curious how the City tracks the racial demographics of its Boards and Commissions, and where that data is published. We wonder how the City has analyzed and plans to address the long standing challenge of achieving more diversity in these bodies. Is part of the problem that communities of color don’t tend to hear about these vacancies? If so, what strategies are being employed to reach out to Black communities specifically? How much of the problem is that most Board of Commissions meetings take place during the workday, thereby excluding those without the privilege of flexible work hours? What plans are in the works to remedy the situation so that Boards and Commissions’ membership better reflects the demographics of our City?
Things to do
We encourage you to reach out to the Asheville City Council and ask them what steps they have taken to analyze and address the fact that their Boards and Commission include very few people of color.
We have prepared an email template that addresses this issue. You can (a) use our City Council template link to open up an email to adapt, (b) copy and paste the content below, or (c) write your own message to AshevilleNCCouncil@ashevillenc.gov.
EMAIL TEMPLATE TEXT
You can open this email in your own email program by clicking here. To proceed manually, you can copy and paste the text below into an email and then address it to members of City Council.
Send to: AshevilleNCCouncil@ashevillenc.gov
Subject: Addressing Limited Diversity on Asheville Boards and Commissions
Dear City Council Members,
This week’s GAP Report did a quick analysis of the Boards and Commission applications you all will consider at this week’s City Council meeting. Out of the 35 applications, only four came from community members of color, and only one from a Black person. I’d like to know more about how the City has analyzed and plans to address the long standing challenge of achieving more diversity in these bodies. Can you share more about what plans are in the works to remedy this situation?
Thanks for your leadership,