No Asheville City Council or Buncombe County Commission meetings this week.
Here are the items that the GAP Strategy Team identified as relevant to racial justice this week.
Things that seem problematic
Asheville Police Department’s contract with Epic Recruiting
Epic Consulting, which was hired last year on a $225,000 contract to facilitate the hiring of new officers, is focused primarily on “branding and video/photo production (and) designing and building a recruitment website,” according to this article in the Citizen-Times.
There continues to be very little information available about how these consultants will specifically recruit Black and Latinx candidates with a community-oriented mindset. The focus of Epic Recruiting, and the Asheville Police Department, appears to be on how to attract new officers, and not on whom to attract and whether prospective new hires will match Asheville’s stated goal of reimagining public safety.
Things to do
Reach out to the Asheville City Council Members on the Public Safety Committee (Sheneika Smith, Sandra Kilgore, and Kim Roney) and encourage them to question Chief Zack and the Asheville Police Department leadership about how these consultants will target their recruitment efforts. How will they appeal to Black and Brown candidates with a track record of prioritizing community connections? How will this recruitment effort align with the City’s commitment to reimagine public safety?
Things of concern, more information needed
$4.7 million in federal money to Asheville Regional Housing Consortium
There is an opportunity for public input on the $4.7 million in federal money awarded to the City through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). (You can read more about this here.)
We appreciate the City seeking input on this issue, and encourage community members to offer their feedback so that this money gets spent in ways that address the greatest needs.
Things to do
Fill out the survey on the City website to offer your input on how this influx of federal money should be prioritized.
Things that sound like a step in the right direction
Asheville City Council Approves Track for Memorial Stadium
The proposal to add a track at Memorial Stadium, a longstanding request from the East End community, was approved.
We applaud this move by the Asheville City Council to honor the promises made to this community and prioritize their needs in this situation by authorizing the construction of the track. We especially want to shout out the leadership of Council Member Antanette Mosley in bringing this issue to a positive conclusion.
Things to do
Contact the Asheville City Council and thank them for voting in favor of building a track at Memorial Stadium.