Buncombe County Remembrance Project: June 2021
Remembrance Project Entering Final Phase
The Buncombe Community Remembrance Project, as part of the Equal Justice Initiative’s Remembrance Project, has entered its final planning phase to honor the three men “of record” that were lynched in Buncombe County. Individuals have been meeting and planning since 2018 to honor Mr. John Humphreys, Mr. Bob Brackett, and Mr. Hezekiah Rankin. The Remembrance Project consists of three distinct programs: The Historical Marker Project, the Soil Collection Project, and the Essay Contest Project.
(Read the entire article with details about the Essay Contest Project and Soil Collection Project here.)
Joseph Fox, Ed.D., M.B.A., PHR
Vice President, MLK Association of Asheville & Buncombe County
Buncombe Community Remembrance Project Coordinator
From the Editor
Just before this e-newsletter was getting ready to be sent, four calls to action were shared. Please note each just below this section.
With over 300 subscribers to this e-newsletter, we hope that you and others will consider supporting this effort through your time, talent and/or treasure. For example:If you wish to learn more about our work groups, go here.
- If you wish to learn more about our work groups, go here.
- If you have questions or want to join a work group, contact Dr. Joseph Fox.
- If you would like to financially support the Project, check out the article below about the collaboration with the Community Foundation of WNC.
As always, sharing this information with your contacts is welcomed and encouraged. Thanks for your interest.
Call to Clergy
Faith 4 Justice Asheville will convene across the street from the Asheville Police Department, Reuter Terrace, S. Market Street, in downtown Asheville, for a brief prayer service in solidarity with clergy across the nation to stand with Elizabeth City, TODAY, Tuesday, June 1st at 5:00 pm. We will be done within the hour and please wear your clergy attire.
We are praying for Truth, Transparency and Accountability of all involved in the death of Andrew Brown, Jr. shot by police on April 21st.
(Read the entire call to action here. Lay people are welcome to attend as well).
– Rev, Tami Forte Logan
Encourage Buncombe County to Optimize Equity in Their Budget
We’ve written to you in the past few weeks about the City of Asheville’s approach to Reparations funding and its budget (you can see our latest call to action here), and we’re reaching out to you today to tell you about Buncombe County’s budget process, which is at a critical juncture. TODAY, June 1st, County Manager Avril Pinder will be presenting the proposed budget for Buncombe County for 2021-2022. Public comment on the budget will be heard that evening at 200 College Street (you can watch online here, but can only make a comment in person), with a final vote planned for June 15th.
(Read the entire article and actions you can take here.)
– Racial Justice Coalition
Encourage City Council to Fund Reparations Now!
An exciting idea emerged in the conversation that followed the City Council budget presentation this past Tuesday: Council has the option to vote to invest in the Reparations Fund as soon as their next meeting on June 8th. There are funds available right now, drawing from both the general fund and from the sale of a city-owned property adjacent to urban renewal land, to invest $2 million or more into Reparations.
(Read this entire article and actions you can take here.)
– Racial Justice Coalition
Tulsa City Council Call to Action
As we move more concretely toward seed funding for our own Reparations process here in Asheville, we continue to watch the actions of cities (e.g. Evanston, IL; Providence, RI) across the country that are considering important racial justice resolutions of their own.
On the eve of the centennial of the Greenwood Massacre – the worst single incident of racial violence in our country’s history – we’re watching as Tulsa City Council considers a resolution offering reconciliation and restoration for the horrific acts that occurred on May 31st and June 1st of 1921.
(Read the entire call to action and the RJC’s request here.)
– Racial Justice Coalition
Martin Luther King, Jr. Association Juneteenth Celebration
The Martin Luther King, Jr. Association of Asheville and Buncombe County will celebrate Juneteenth with online events occurring throughout the week of June 14, on the Association’s YouTube Channel. Ahamad Ward will discuss the Historic Mitchelville Freedom Park as one of the featured videos. Mr. Ward is the Executive Director of the Historic Mitchelville Freedom Park, whose mission is to preserve, promote, and honor Historic Mitchelville, the first self-governed town of formerly enslaved people in the United States.
Read this entire article here.
This e-newsletter not only covers what the Buncombe Community Remembrance Project is doing but also offers other news, events and stories that align with its work. Here are some items that are noteworthy.
- As in each edition, here are articles, blogs, audios and videos focused on racial injustice and inequity and efforts to make positive change locally, regionally, statewide and/or nationally.
- Reparations: The city of Asheville is beginning the first phase of its process to deliver community reparations for Black Asheville. Three sessions, in-person and livestreamed, will start on June 3rd and run for the next two Tuesdays after (the 10th & 17th). Get details and how to register here.
- Juneteenth celebration: In addition to the MLK celebration of Juneteenth, this op-ed from the Asheville Citizen-Times from Rev. J. Hackett and Ready Red shares their efforts to celebrate later this month. This press release offers additional information.
- Increasing affordable housing: How can we increase affordable housing options for all families? We have to work together and invest in long-term solutions at much higher levels – right now. Thrive Asheville offers their policy agenda here to increase affordable housing options.
- Systemic racism: “What Republicans mean when they say ‘socialism’ is not the political system most countries recognize when they use that word: one in which the people, through their government, own the means of production. What Republicans mean comes from America’s peculiar history after the Civil War, when new national taxation coincided with the expansion of voting to include Black men.” This opinion piece from Heather Cox Richardson from May 14th offers this perspective and more.
- Supporting Black womxn: As noted in the May edition,Desiree Adaway, a local and national consultant, and a colleague, Ericka Hines, have started this research project. For Black womxn, you can go here to see and complete the Black Womxn Thriving survey.
- Tools to Support COVID-19 Prevention: The Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC) continues their community health newsletter. It provides resources to support the health of Black, African American, Indigenous, Latinx/Hispanic, and other communities of color during the pandemic and beyond. Here is the May issue.
- Affordable Care Act Special Enrollment: The Biden Administration created this special enrollment period for health insurance that continues until August 15th. The American Rescue Plan now provides lower cost health insurance through the Affordable Care Act. Watch this 2+ minute video from Pisgah Legal Service that highlights new benefits and connect with PLS here.
- Vaccinating those who are homebound: Buncombe County Public Health is providing COVID-19 vaccinations at no charge to individuals who are homebound or have difficulty getting out of their home to access vaccines. They can also vaccinate caregivers in the home at the same time. If individuals would like to be added to the list for homebound vaccination, they (or their caregivers) should contact the Buncombe County Ready Team at 828-419-0095 and provide their name, address, date of birth and phone number. Ready Team staff group the individuals on the list by location in the county and contact individuals by phone to schedule them for vaccinations.
Financially Supporting the BCRP
The Buncombe Community Remembrance Project continues its partnership with the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina (CFWNC). The Foundation has set up a fund on behalf of the Remembrance Project, and here is the link if you wish to support this important work.
The funding will help the Project: (See more.)
Here are some webinars, events, and activities this month that may interest you.
- June 3rd – The City of Asheville offers a series on Reparations. Get details and how to register here. Series continues June 10th & 17th.
- June 7th – The Poor People’s Campaign is calling for a “Third Reconstruction”. Get details for this important effort here for NC at noon, and livestream the national effort at 3 pm here.
- June 12th or 13th – “America Talks is a powerful event that invites Americans to connect one-on-one, face-to-face, on video across our political divides. By doing so, we remind ourselves that the “other” is – just like us – a person with family, friends, hopes, fears, values, beliefs, and intrinsic worth.” For those interested, get more details and register at the above link.
- week of June 14th – Juneteenth celebrations begin. Get details about events offered by the Martin Luther King, Jr. Association here.
- June 18th – 20th – Celebrate Juneteenth at GRINDFest, 346 Depot Street. Get details here.
- June 19th – The NC NAACP is offering a webinar titled, “Unflinching Freedom and its Implications for the 21st Century”, 11 am. RSVP here.
While the pandemic is ebbing, it remains very important for all to have access to the necessary resources and information to combat its spread and impact. In addition to the information provided above by MAHEC, Buncombe County has created this webpage that provides information and resources to help our community. The state of North Carolina provides this page as well.
Ahamad Ward, Avril Pinder, Community Foundation of WNC, Detroit Youth Choir, Dr Joseph Fox, Essay Contest Project, Faith 4 Justice Asheville, Glory, Greenwood Massacre, Historical Marker Project, Juneteenth, Mitchelville Freedom Park, Racial Justice Coalition, Remembrance Project, Reparations Fund, Rev Tami Forte Logan, Soil Collection Project, Tulsa