Buncombe Community Remembrance Project: May 2020
Thanks for your interest in the Buncombe Community Remembrance Project. You are one of more than 150 people who have expressed such an interest.
This is the second issue of this e-newsletter. When the Project first got started, it held regular meetings, but COVID-19 has forced every one of us to adapt. It is important that you and others in our community know the work continues, and this e-newsletter will be one of the ways to inform you of the progress of this Project. This e-newsletter will also include timely information on relevant topics. For example, you’ll see information on the census and racial justice/equity in this issue.
As mentioned in the premiere issue from Dr. Joseph Fox, our Project Coordinator, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Association of Asheville and Buncombe County is the lead organization in partnership with over twenty community-based organizations located throughout the county. The Buncombe Community Remembrance Project is governed by a Steering Committee composed of representatives from seventeen organizations and a larger Community Stakeholders’ Group.
What is key is that the Project’s work is being conducted utilizing a number of work groups.If you are interested in supporting this effort or joining one of the work groups, let Dr. Fox know. If you have something you wish to contribute to this e-newsletter, feel free to contact the editor. Thanks for all you do, and please stay safe.
Updates on the Project’s Work Groups
- Lynching Research Work Group: Thanks to resources from the North Carolina Room at Pack Memorial Library in Downtown Asheville, this work group has been able to access newspaper records covering the three racial terror lynching cases confirmed by researchers at the Equal Justice Initiative. (Here is a 2015 Carolina Public Press article that offers some details about a number of lynchings in WNC including the three from Buncombe County.) Work group members used the records to produce timelines for the three lynchings, helping identify avenues for further archival research. These include details about the victims, lynching suspects, and names of members of law enforcement and government associated with surrounding events.
- Historical Marker Work Group: The Equal Justice Initiative, founded by Bryan Stevenson in 1989, was established to educate the public about mass incarceration, excessive punishment of prisoners, and to shine an equity lens on racial and economic disparities existing in communities of color. Click here to read the report for this work group.
- Communication/PR Work Group: This is the second e-newsletter for the Project. Starting in May, the plan is for these e-newsletters to come out monthly. If you missed the first issue, you can see it here.
If you are interested in helping any of these work groups (or have questions), please contact Dr. Joseph Fox.
The Importance of the Census
Have you completed your 2020 Census questionnaire? Now, more than ever, it is critical that you be counted for your community. Census data is used to distribute over 675 billion federal dollars each year for things like roads, schools, hospitals, and emergency services. It is safe and should take less than 10 minutes to complete. Go to www.my2020census.gov and click “Start Questionnaire”.
You do NOT need a unique ID to complete; simply put in your home address and begin. Don’t have access to a computer? You can also call 844-330-2020. and a Census employee will assist you with your questionnaire. Do your part for our community, and complete your Census questionnaire today!
Here are some articles, audios and videos addressing racial inequities. These are not easy issues to talk about, but groups like the Racial Equity Collective, Building Bridges, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Association, and others have been addressing them in our community. In addition to noting examples of inequities, this section will offer some “solutions” or efforts that are trying to positively address these issues.
This Project is made possible under the guidance of this extraordinary organization. Some of you may have visited Montgomery, Alabama and seen the Legacy Museum, the Memorial for Peace and Justice, and the new Legacy Pavilion that were created by Bryan Stevenson, the founder of this organization. Still others may have seen the recent film, Just Mercy, based on the book of the same name.
It is important this organization is acknowledged for the leadership it provides not only to this Project but to other projects and efforts to address the history and reality of racial inequities throughout the United States. If you are interested in hearing more about Bryan Stevenson, watch this important documentary, True Justice.