The city Council of Asheville, North Carolina, apologized for the historical role of the city in the slavery, discrimination and the denial of basic freedoms for black residents and voted to compensate their descendants, writes USA Today.
Voting with a score 7-0 held the evening of July 14.
“Hundreds of years of bloodshed and blacks, filling the Cup from which we drink today, said Board member Keith young, one of two African-American members of the organisation, and the main supporter of the measure. — It is not enough just to remove legal acts. Blacks in this country are faced with issues that are systemic by nature”.
Unanimously adopted, resolution does not require direct payments. Instead, the city will invest in areas where black residents face inequality.
“Budget and program priorities may include, but are not limited to, an increase in the number of households for minorities, affordable housing, expansion of opportunities of business ownership and career opportunities, strategies for improving justice and the welfare of generations, addressing gaps in health, education, employment and wages, security and justice within criminal justice,” the resolution reads.
According to supporters, the focus should be to increase the wealth of generations
The resolution calls for the city to establish a Commission on reparations, inviting community groups and other local authorities. The Commission’s work will be to develop specific recommendations for programs and resources that will be used.
Councilman Sheneika Smith, African-American, said that the Council received e-mails from people asking: “Why should we pay for something that happened during slavery?”
“(Slavery) is the institution which serves as the starting point for creating a strong economic base for white America, while simultaneously trying to keep black in perpetual subjection to its progress,” Smith said.
Member of the Board Vijay Kapoor, who often disagreed with young and Smith on police matters and budget, said he supported the measure on moral grounds. But he said skeptics can look for “practical reason”: the data shows large disparities between African Americans and other residents of Asheville.
“We don’t want these spaces we are constrained,’ said Kapoor. — We want everyone to be successful.”
The Board provided the hours for public discussion of the measure. The majority voted in support.
Rob Thomas, public representative of the Coalition for racial justice, which led the initiative reparations, thanked the Board.
“It is a really good gesture at the basics of what we can build,’ said Thomas. — The potential that can come out of this document, amazing.”
According to him, the focus should be to increase the welfare of the generations — what African Americans were deprived of as a result of economic and regulatory discrimination.
According to Thomas, it is important that the County government joined the initiative to ensure that problems are scattered between County and city.
The Board of commissioners of the County of buncomb clearly is not the measure for damages, although it has a 4-3 democratic majority.
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