In an extraordinary move, the Asheville City Council has apologized for the North Carolina city’s historic role in slavery, discrimination and denial of basic liberties to Black residents and voted to provide reparations to them and their descendants.
The 7-0 vote came the night of July 14.
“Hundreds of years of Black blood spilled that basically fills the cup we drink from today,” said Councilman Keith Young, one of two African American members of the body and the measure’s chief proponent.
“It is simply not enough to remove statutes. Black people in this country are dealing with issues that are systemic in nature.”
The unanimously passed resolution does not mandate direct payments. Instead, it will make investments in areas where Black residents face disparities.
“The resulting budgetary and programmatic priorities may include but not be limited to increasing minority home ownership and access to other affordable housing, increasing minority business ownership and career opportunities, strategies to grow equity and generational wealth, closing the gaps in health care, education, employment and pay, neighborhood safety and fairness within criminal justice,” the resolution reads.