Buncombe Community Remembrance Project: August 2021
Remembrance Project Update
The Buncombe Community Remembrance Project continues to work toward the completion of the Project. A short survey will be emailed out in the near future to gauge comfort levels pertaining to an upcoming community informational meeting. We anticipate at least scheduling a hybrid meeting, but we wanted to wait until we can capture community input related to a possible face-to-face meeting, an online meeting, or a hybrid meeting. In the meantime, we will continue to utilize the monthly e-newsletters to provide information and updates, and we anticipate continuing to utilize that tool, as well as the MLK Association’s website and YouTube Channel moving forward. (Read the entire Update here.)
Joseph Fox, Ed.D., M.B.A., PHR
Vice President, MLK Association of Asheville & Buncombe County
Buncombe Community Remembrance Project Coordinator
Support a Trip to Montgomery
Members of the Buncombe Community Remembrance Project will be traveling this fall to Montgomery, Alabama as invited guests of the Equal Justice Initiative. As part of that trip, the Project would like to include people who want to attend but may not have the financial resources to do so.
The Project is asking members of the Buncombe community to support those people by making a tax deductible donation so that these people may be able to attend. By going to this site offered by the Community Foundation of WNC, gifts will be set aside to make that possible.
Thanks for your consideration.
Calls to Action
- The Racial Justice Coalition is encouraging Asheville citizens to contact the City Manager to ask her to implement the Reparations Commission in accordance with the way it was initially presented. Get details and how to take action here.
- The recent passage of VOCA (Victims of Crime Act) did not have the impact that was necessary to address the funding needs of many organizations addressing violence prevention in our communities. There are several ways everyone can help, as outlined in this call to action from Pisgah Legal Services, to address the funding needs of these important organizations in our community.
- Voting is critical in our country, and efforts to suppress the vote or diminish the effect of our vote by gerrymandering is cause for alarm. However, there are a number of groups and individuals that are standing up for the For the People Act (S1) that would remedy many of these concerns. Locally and statewide, two groups are providing ways for people to take action. If you are interested, check out this “script” that includes actions, who to contact, and even words you can use to make the call or send the email or text. You can also attend an Action Hour later today at 5:30 pm to learn more by registering here. Everyone is encouraged to take action every day, if possible, until S! is passed or the Senate recesses.
Remembrance Project Honors Three Men
Below is the video from the second service honoring the three men that the Equal Justice Initiative has verified were lynched in Buncombe County. For this edition and the next one, this e-newsletter will offer videos for each Black man – Mr. John Humphreys, Mr. Bob Brackett, and Mr. Hezekiah Rankin.
In the fall, the Remembrance Project is planning the installation of three historical markers to be located in the Asheville area. The hope is that it will be a reminder to everyone of the history of racial injustice.
This past May 30th, the Buncombe Community Remembrance Project honored the three Black men the Equal Justice Initiative has documented that were lynched in Buncombe County. This video is the ceremony for Mr. Bob Brackett who was lynched August 8th, 1897.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Association YouTube Channel
The Martin Luther King, Jr. Association of Asheville and Buncombe County offers a number of videos starting with this year’s Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration in January. To view these important videos, go here.
Many of these videos have been and will continue to be highlighted in the Project’s monthly e-newsletter.
Above is the video for one of the second place winners of the Equal Justice Initiative Essay Contest, Jennifer Russ. She reads her essay titled the “Toxic Effects of Underrepresentation”.
This very successful contest was led by Eric Grant, chair of the Essay Contest work group. Here is a link to a message from Eric, and the list of all the winners including links to the third and fourth place essays.
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 always feel free to share any or all of these items or the entire e-newsletter.
- 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. Items are organized into categories to help readers better find those that most interest them.
- United for Youth will be sponsoring a Block Party on Thursday, August 19th, 4:00 pm – 6:30 pm, at City-County Plaza in downtown Asheville. The FREE event will feature youth performers, highlight young entrepreneurs, as well as provide free food, books, and activities for families. The event will also feature a DJ and more! This event is a great opportunity to learn more about Asheville and Buncombe County schools, programs, organizations, and other community partners. Various community partners will sponsor information tables. Get full details here.
- Most everyone has heard about Nikole Hannah-Jones and the off and then on approval of tenure which she ultimately did not accept. In this article from the Chronicle of Higher Education, the author notes how Ms. Hannah-Jones “flipped the switch” on the UNC Board of Trustees.
- The August Virtual Folding Chair, hosted by Aisha Adams and the Lenoir-Rhyne Equity and Diversity Institute (LREDI), will feature Dr. Sharon West and Rev. Michael Carter. This event is on August 31st, starting at 6 pm. Join them and LREDI as they network and discuss issues concerning our communities. Go here to get additional details and register.
- Lenoir-Rhyne has opened registration for its fall classes for the Equity and Diversity Institute. Get information on how to register here.
- CoThinkk is opening its sixth Annual Innovative Video grant process. Get details in this press release.
- You Can Vote, a statewide organization committed to promoting voting in North Carolina, announced a partnership with HBCU’s (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) to both register and get out the vote. Get details on this important effort here.
- The Western Women’s Business Center is launching a new African American Business Association (AABA) with an emphasis on providing marketing support. This press release gives details on this venture and membership.
- Reparations: For reparations to succeed in Asheville and Buncombe County: the process must be controlled by and benefit Black community members; land and money must be turned over to the collective discretion of the Black community; there must be a healing-centered truth-telling process; local governments must address and end systemic anti-black racism in all the departments that they oversee. Take this pledge to support Every Black Voice.
- 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.
This video interview with Ruby Bridges shares what she, as a small child, had to endure when she integrated a school in the South. She also shares how that made a lifelong commitment to racial justice her mission in life.
It remains very important for all to have access to the necessary resources and information to combat its spread and impact. MAHEC provides a monthly e-newsletter on COVID-19. Here is their latest issue from July 9th.
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. Additionally, the NC Black Alliance offers this webpage dedicated to the latest information on COVID-19 for members of the Black community.