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Public pushes for reparations by Buncombe
Saturday, 01 August 2020 15:10

From Staff Reports

Following Asheville City Council’s 7-0 vote on July 14 to give reparations to black residents, members of the public reportedly are putting pressure on the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners to join the city in the historic move.

“In public comments made via email and voicemail, dozens of residents called on the Board of Commissioners on July 21 to join Asheville, which, this month (July), apologized for its role in slavery and discrimination and pledged to invest in education, health care and other areas with racial disparities,” the Asheville Citizen Times reported July 23.

“I urge you to put reparations on the agenda for discussion and to join the City (Council) in this historic movement to dismantle structural racism in our community, and begin to undo the great harm it has caused,” Emma Olson, who works in public health and social justice according to comments read aloud during the board meeting, was quoted by the ACT as saying.

Cathy Holt, also in comments read aloud, was quoted by the ACT as saying, “Without reparations, there’s no economic justice for African Americans, the wrongs of slavery, Jim Crow era disenfranchisement and obstacles to economic opportunity.”

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Mayor says layoffs loom if no federal help
Saturday, 01 August 2020 15:09

From Staff Reports

Layoffs could be looming for those who work for the city of Asheville, Mayor Esther Manheimer said during a conference call with five other North Carolina mayors on July 21, Asheville television station WLOS (News 13) reported later July 21.

Along with Manheimer, the mayors of High Point, Salisbury, Kinston and Lexington said they need federal help to avoid making drastic cuts because of financial losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

To that end, they are “calling on U.S. lawmakers to pass a $1 trillion coronavirus stimulus package with direct payments to cities,” News 13 noted.

Regarding where Asheville’s city government will be if it fails to get federal aid, Manheimer was quoted by News 13 as saying, “What we’ll have to do is we will have to continue with hiring freezes ... We will have to look at layoffs.

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Asheville’s Pack Square gets a new look: Black Lives Matter mural? A collective effort downtown
Saturday, 01 August 2020 15:07

From Staff Reports

Asheville’s Black Lives Matter mural, touted as “dynamic” by its backers, was installed from North Pack Square to South Pack Square in the area widely considered to be the heart of downtown on July 19.

The effort was led by Asheville City Councilwoman Sheneika Smith, in collaboration with community groups and leaders.

The temporary installation had received council’s prior approval — and mural planning and painting was organized in partnership with the Asheville Area Arts Council and its executive director, Katie Cornell.

The project was completed by 20-plus local artists and was financed by individual donors and in-kind business support to cover the cost of supplies, maintenance and artist honorariums.

The mural’s location was at the site of the recent BLM protests in May and June — and it holds an extensive history. 

The mural surrounds the 75-foot Vance Monument, which was concealed with a shroud in early July while a joint task force chosen by council and the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners’ develops recommendations for the removal and/or repurposing of the Civil War monument.

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