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Buncombe Community Remembrance Project: November 2021

Historical Markers Installation Ceremony

Fostering truth telling and acknowledging the history of racial violence does matter as a first step towards healing, reconciliation, and transformation. The Buncombe Community Remembrance Project Steering Committee embraced the theme of truth telling in undertaking the Equal Justice Initiative’s Historical Marker Project. The Historical Markers’ Installation Ceremony will be held on Saturday, October 30, at 10 am, at Pack Square Park.

(Read the entire article about the Installation Ceremonies here.)

Joseph Fox, Ed.D., M.B.A., PHR
Vice President, MLK Association of Asheville & Buncombe County
Buncombe Community Remembrance Project Coordinator

Remembrance Project Reflections

The Buncombe Community Remembrance Project Steering Committee is to be commended for their dedicated work in completing the Equal Justice Initiative’s (EJI) Remembrance Project during the COVID-19 Pandemic. The Project started in September 2018, when community representatives began meeting to discuss information shared about the EJI and the work of Bryan Stevenson in an article that was published by the Mountain Xpress in late August 2018. An initial meeting was hosted by the University of North Carolina Asheville where members from the Interfaith Initiative for Social Justice and First Congregational United Church of Christ shared information about a recent trip to the Legacy Museum: From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration and the National Memorial for Peace and Justice.

(Read the entire article about the Project Reflections here.)

Slavery to Mass Incarceration

Honoring Buncombe County’s Lynching Victims

Racial violence directed at Black people in America has been well documented throughout the history of the United States. The struggle continued from the first Africans in America, enslavement, Jim Crow Laws, Reconstruction, Freedom Riders, the Civil Rights Movements, to the present-day Black Lives Matter Movement. As we honor the three individuals lynched in Buncombe County, the information listed provides just a small snapshot of the times in which the three men lived.

(Read this entire article here.)

Calls to Action

New: 

  1. Historical Markers Installation Ceremony is Saturday, October 30th, starting at 10 am, in Pack Square Park. This flyer offers information about the event. Feel free to copy and share with others. 
  2. Reparations nominations: The city of Asheville is asking for citizen feedback on the nomination and application process for those who would sit on the Reparations Commission. Get details and complete the survey here. Deadline is November 1st
  3. Support Afghan Refugees in Asheville.  Asheville has welcomed over 10 Afghan refugees as of this weekend. The maximum number of refugees is capped at 40. Those newly arriving to our country need many things. You can help. Click here to indicate the ways you can assist. You can give in a variety of ways, meeting specific needs, volunteering for transportation, giving resources for the purchase of gift cards. (Read the entire call here.)
  4. Preparing Buncombe County Comprehensive Plan: Buncombe County is preparing a 20 year plan and is asking for “Community Ambassadors”. Please see this overview from Leonard Jones for details and how you can help 
  5. The WNC Health Network wants to learn from people who recently got their first COVID-19 shot or are unsure about vaccinating their children. Here is an opportunity for you and others to participate in a listening session that offers a stipend for participants.

Continuing:

  1. Drawing fair districts in NC: The public portal is an important resource for everyone who cares about fair districts to express their opinion to those NC legislators empowered to draw the maps. Please take advantage of this  opportunity, and SHARE WITH OTHERS! Make your comments personal and speak about your community. The Brennan Center for Justice offered these 6 tips for giving testimony for public hearings for redistricting that are also appropriate for the portal. Democracy NC has put together these tips (on one page) for suggested comments to the public portal. And, if you are looking for examples, here are some comments submitted (each separately) by the editor of this e-newsletter. 
  2. Learn about the situation of Dontae Sharpe in this documentary. The NAACP and others are strongly urging Governor Cooper to grant a pardon. To share your views, call 919-324-1456. 
  3. Freedom to Vote Act: The Brennan Center provides information about how several senators have crafted this new bill that includes many of the key provisions of the For the People Act. This bill still has challenges based on the filibuster that was employed yesterday to stop action, but there is hope, and that comes from amending the filibuster. Here are actions you can take to make positive change through contacting President Biden.

Support a Trip to Montgomery

Members of the Buncombe Community Remembrance Project are hoping to travel to Montgomery, Alabama some time in the next year 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 make a tax deductible donation so that everyone 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.

EJI’s Community Remembrance Project

What is a Community Remembrance Project? This video offers an explanation of the one in Buncombe County and others throughout the United States. As part of EJI’s campaign to recognize victims of lynching, Buncombe County has collected soil from lynching sites and created a memorial that acknowledges the horrors of racial injustice both past and present.

Important News/Events/Stories

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. Below are some items that are noteworthy.

As always feel free to share any or all of these items or the entire e-newsletter.

New:

  1. 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 more easily find those that interest them. 
  2. The Buncombe Community Remembrance Project will be featured on “The Folding Chair” on Monday, October 25th, at 6 pm. Get details and how you can get your free ticket for this virtual event here
  3. Equity Over Everything (EOE) has launched its inaugural annual magazine which celebrates diverse thought leaders in their equity advocacy network. “As an entrepreneur, I have dedicated my life to helping support equity advocates as they disrupt biased systems and lead organizational change. Equity Over Everything Magazine is another way to connect with conscious leaders and support them on their Equity Advocacy journey and our firm.” Aisha Adams, CEO of the firm and editor of the magazine explains. (Read the entire release about this effort here.)
  4. The Lenoir-Rhyne Equity and Diversity Institute (LREDI) will host an official ribbon cutting and reception at the Asheville Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday. October 26th, at 4 pm to celebrate a year of impact. Get details and register here
  5. The Violence & Virtue of White Women’s Tears | Faith 4 Justice Virtual Event took place last month. If you were unable to attend or want to hear this powerful presentation again, you can watch it here. Also, consider supporting the vital work of Faith 4 Justice financially and donate here.
  6. Dr. King’s Celebration Moves to Virtual Platforms. The Board of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Association of Asheville and Buncombe County announced that the majority of its 2022 Dr. King’s commemoration events will be moved to virtual platforms again this year due to concerns of keeping supporters safe from COVID-19 infections, including breakthrough infections. Most events will be pre-recorded and will be viewable on the Association’s YouTube Channel, as well as the Association’s Facebook Page and website. (Read the entire article here.)

On-going or Latest:

  1. The keynote speaker for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Prayer Breakfast in January 2022 has been announced. Go here to learn about Marcia Johnson-Blanco. Her topic will be “Give Us the Ballot Box: The Urgency of NOW!
  2. Back in February, the Project e-newsletter highlighted this article from Sarah Thornburg on the importance of the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments in the Constitution. With so much focus on voting now, it is offered again. 
  3. The Wilma Dykeman Legacy is organizing an exciting event focused on legendary WNC native and jazz icon Nina Simone. Dr. Warren Carson, a Simone expert, will be the presenter. The talk is slated for 7 pm on November 11th on Zoom and possibly in-person at the West Asheville Library. Email mystory@wilmadykemanlegacy.org to register or to get more information.

Pandemic Resources

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.

Afghan Refugees, Buncombe County Comprehensive Plan, Dontae Sharpe, Dr King's Commemoration Events, Dr. Warren Carson, Drawing Fair Districts, EJI, Freedom to Vote Act, Historical Markers Installation Ceremonies, Jim Crow, Lenoir-Rhyne Equity and Diversity Institute, LREDI, Lynching, Marcia Johnson-Blanco, Nina Simone, Pandemic Resources, Prayer Breakfast, SlaveryEvolved, West Asheville Library

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