Buncombe Community Remembrance Project: September 2022
Voting for Racial (and Social) Justice
The midterm elections are just 68 days away; another election offers the opportunity for positive change (or the opposite). One of the realities with elections is that government can be a strong partner in addressing injustices or it can be an impediment.
When it comes to racial justice, efforts to make positive change are rarely easy, but it can happen, and in Buncombe County, a step forward is happening with the creation of the Reparations Commission. This one step forward is important to note because at all levels of government – in this case, with local government – those who are elected can have an impact on us in many ways.
That is why voting for all races on one’s ballot is so important; it is one element of civic engagement. With that in mind, the following is offered to help you and others navigate this upcoming election. And, if you wish, look at ways you can support efforts to “get out the vote.” So to begin:
- In a victory for democracy in NC, the NC Supreme Court ordered that the case filed by the NAACP can continue in its effort to negate two constitutional amendments that were approved in 2018. One would require an approved photo ID to vote. (Note: At present, photo ID is NOT required because of this litigation.) Get details from this story from NC Policy Watch.
- There has been misinformation and even outright lies about the security of elections throughout the country. The Carter Center is working with other groups to offer town halls to set the record straight. This bipartisan effort has started in NC. This website offers details and the dates, times, locations, and a way to register for one or more of the 15 town halls. One in western NC will be held in Asheville on September 20th. For those not wishing to travel or not available that day, you can attend the virtual town hall set for September 19th.
- There are many opportunities to take action. If you are interested, this listing provides ways to do so. It will be updated for each edition of this e-newsletter before the election.
Voting matters. If you think your vote doesn’t, remember that the NC Supreme Court chief judge won that race by 401 votes out of almost 5.4 million votes cast in 2020.
There are many groups that may try to sway you with misinformation, but this e-newsletter will continue to offer resources to assist you with being an informed voter. In Buncombe County, we are fortunate to have a very capable Election Services office that can answer your questions. They also are looking for poll workers, by the way.
So, as the election approaches, the hope is that you and others won’t let anything stop you from voting this year!
As always, please feel free to share any part or all of this e-newsletter with anyone you wish.
In this TED talk video, Heather McGhee shares that racism is bad for everyone. She offers many examples to show why racial justice is good for everyone.
Early on in the video, she references a conversation she had on a call-in program several years ago. Here is a video that shows how connecting with just one person and listening to others can help defeat racism.
Calls to Action or Engagement
- Building Bridges: Registration for these weekly meetings began on August 22nd. Meetings begin on September 19th and run through November 14th, from 7 – 9 pm. To be on the interest list and receive registration instructions, complete this form.
- Want to have fun and learn about the history of Black Asheville? Take a Hood Huggers Tour. Get details here.
- The Racial Justice Coalition has created a new webpage on its website that highlights two of its projects. Go here to get details for Every Black Voice and the Government Accountability Project. Each is open for people to support.
- For those who missed out on the June trip to Montgomery and Selma, Alabama or simply are interested in going this fall, there is another trip planned for late October. Get details here. Deadline to express interest and register is September 30th.
- The Racial Justice Coalition shared this email recently about the Goombay Festival happening this weekend!
- Currently, nearly 200 households in Buncombe County have a housing choice voucher – guaranteed financial assistance to move themselves and their families into a private rental – but they often cannot find landlords to take the vouchers. Thrive Asheville is changing that. Their new Landlord-Tenant Partnership finds potential landlords, then works with the Asheville Housing Authority to match them with tenants with housing choice vouchers. If you are a landlord who is interested and would like more information, contact them here.
- End the Exception is a call to amend the 13th amendment. That amendment states “[n]either slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime” is legal. You can take action here.
- Healthy Blue NC covers Medicaid and Health Choice in NC. They are inviting people to a special meeting on September 6th, from 6:30 – 7:30 pm at Lenoir Rhyne University in north Asheville. Get details and how to register from these flyers: 9/6 – English, and 9/6 in Spanish.
There is misinformation circulating about voting and the role of election workers and the various Boards of Elections. One effort to address this is through the NC Trusted Election Tour mentioned in the opening of this e-newsletter.
Additionally, the League of Women Voters NC has created this video to explain how secure and protected our vote is. Please watch and share with other NC residents.
Equity Through Education
by Joseph Fox, Ed.D., MBA, PHR
Fox Management Consulting Enterprises, LLC’s owner, Dr. Joseph Fox, has been consulting with the Land of Sky Educational Attainment and Workforce Collaborative for the past two and a half years pertaining to educational attainment that leads to life sustaining employment. Fox Management Consulting Enterprises, LLC, (Fox Management) defines equity as: “A conscious decision-making process of examining policies, procedures, rules, regulations and practices for all people, ensuring equitable access to informational, financial, and procedure resources.”
For equity to exist, the following elements must be present:
(To read this entire article, go here.)
Learning about the history of the NC constitution can shed light on efforts that made this state one of the only states to guarantee the right of a good quality public education for all in its constitution. This is at the heart of the struggle to implement the Leandro decision. Get details from this video, “The Untold Story of the NC Constitution”.
This e-newsletter shares what the Buncombe Community Remembrance Project is doing and 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.
- 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.
- Across America many are willfully avoiding studying, discussing, and acknowledging the continued painful legacy of slavery and racism on our society. Not only must we know our history and recognize injustice, but when we see it, we must actively work to push for change. This article from NBC News discusses how dwellings created for those who were enslaved are being used as Airbnb sites.
- The Racial Justice Coalition has an opening for a Director of Development. Go here for details and how to apply. Applications are open until the position is filled.
- The history and legacy of Black builders and craftspeople in North Carolina comes to life in a new traveling exhibit at Pack Memorial Library, 67 Haywood St. Produced by Preservation North Carolina, “We Built This: Profiles of Black Architects and Builders in North Carolina” is on display until Monday, October 10th. The exhibit is open to the public during normal library hours. The exhibit highlights the stories of those who constructed and designed many of North Carolina’s most treasured historic sites. Read more here.
- Buncombe County will have two important items on the ballot this fall that could significantly impact the future. These are bonds for $30 million for the conservation of natural resources and farmland and development of greenways and $40 million for housing for people of low to moderate income. Here is information on both. This link encourages people to vote “yes” for both.
- In this media release, CoThinkk announces it is accepting video grant applications for projects addressing vexing social issues facing BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) communities.
- In mid-August, there was a question about whether the Goombay Festival would be able to sell alcohol. This was an important element in whether the YMI could hold the festival. A call to action was requested to ask Police Chief Zack to issue the permit. Based on actions taken by people who made those calls and sent emails, a satisfactory resolution occurred. The Racial Justice Coalition called on the community to make those calls and send those emails, and in this email from the Coalition, an example of how the community can indeed make positive change is shared.
- MAHEC announced the retirement of an extraordinary leader in the community, Jacquelyn Hallum. Read about her here and note the event on October 7th to honor her many years of service.
- Equity Over Everything shared upcoming courses that are being offered from the Lenoir Rhyne Equity & Diversity Institute. Get details here.
Rooted in Wellness
by Joseph Fox, Ed.D., MBA, PHR
The Martin Luther King, Jr. Association of Asheville and Buncombe County’s Community Outreach Providing Empowerment (COPE) Program participated in “Rooted in Wellness Statewide Health Fair,” hosted by Asheville Buncombe Institute for Parity Achievement (ABIPA) and sponsored by the North Carolina Black Alliance, on Saturday, July 30. The North Carolina Black Alliance addresses policy and economic issues to enhance Black communities by developing and promoting systemic policy change as well as youth and leadership development.
(To read this entire article, go here.)
“The Legacy of Racial Injustice” is the title of this video from the Equal Justice Initiative from two years ago. This was made at about the time the Buncombe Community Remembrance Project started. As Bryan Stevenson states, “Now is the time to join the fight for racial equality, confront our nation’s history of racial bigotry and begin the era of truth and justice.”
Remembrance Projects Nationally and Locally
The Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) has been the important partner not only to Buncombe County but to all communities willing and working to address their history of racial injustice. Below are several elements the Buncombe Community Remembrance Project continues to highlight in each edition shared by EJI.
- EJI is currently working with nearly 100 communities to advance Community Remembrance Projects. A little more than half have erected historical markers. You can find out more about the communities that have erected EJI sponsored Community Remembrance Project markers here.
- You can view what is on each of the markers for Buncombe County, front and back, here as compiled by the Equal Justice Initiative. To see the markers, go to the following sites: for Mr. John Humphries – College & Spruce Streets; for Mr. Bob Brackett – Triangle Park; and for Mr. Hezekiah Rankin – Craven Street & Emma Road.
- The full stories about each of the three men lynched are captured in this document.
- The Equal Justice Initiative shared this webpage of the Historical Markers Installation Ceremony on October 30th last year.
Here are two additional items from the Equal Justice Initiative that the Project wants to share:
- Want to stay connected to the work of the Equal Justice Initiative? Sign up for updates about their work here.
- Every day of the year offers important racial justice history. If you want to get a daily reminder of that history, the Equal Justice Initiative offers this sign-up. Go here to get today’s reminder.
COVID-19 and its variants remain a concern. 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.
Building Bridges, CoThinkk, Every Black Voice, Fox Management Consulting Enterprises, Government Accountability Project Report, Healthy Blue NC, Heather McGhee, Landlord-Tenant Partnership, Leandro decision, MAHEC, NC Trusted Election Tour, North Carolina Black Alliance, Pandemic Resources, Poll Workers, Reparations Commission, The Carter Center, Thrive Asheville