Buncombe Community Remembrance Project: October 2022
Voting Can Address Racial (and Social) Justice
The midterm elections are 38 days away, and early voting begins in just 19 days! As noted in the September edition of this e-newsletter, elections offer 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.
The first step to voting is having a plan, and now is the time to implement your plan. It starts with the following:
- Checking your registration. This is important to ensure that you are registered under your current name at your current address. An easy way to check is to go to the NC Voter Search page provided by the NC Board of Elections. When you get to this webpage, enter the name you registered under. That will take you to a page where you will see a link that lists your name and address. If your name and/or your correct address are not listed or you are not listed as Active, you likely are not registered, need to update your registration or need to activate your registration. You should register or update your registration no later than 25 days before Election Day. In 2022, that is October 14th. This link provides the options available to register. Don’t despair if you can’t meet this deadline. In NC, you can register or update your registration during Early Voting. (Note: If you have questions or this seems confusing, feel free to email me.)
- Knowing the races on your ballot. If you are registered and find your name on the NC Voter Search page, click your name You will then be taken to the next webpage that has a lot of valuable information. It lists the districts you are in. Also listed is your polling location on Election Day. And finally, when you scroll down, there will be a link to your sample ballot. You can click the link and print your two-sided ballot.
For those interested in more detailed information AND possibly supporting others to vote, click here. This link is being updated almost daily to help those in WNC find ways to make a difference.
If you have a group that is interested in a presentation that will help members of the group better navigate voting this year, email me. That presentation will offer ways to address any questions people have.
As always, please feel free to share any part or all of this e-newsletter with anyone you wish.
2023 Martin Luther King, Jr. Prayer Breakfast
by Jennifer Nehlsen
The Board of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Association of Asheville & Buncombe County is thrilled to announce that after two years of virtual celebration, the 2023 Celebration events will return to an in-person format. This will be the 42nd year of service and celebration, and our theme is Audacious Action During Uncertain Times.
The Association is best known for our annual Prayer Breakfast that brings together approximately 1,100 diverse citizens and community leaders. The co-speakers for this year’s Prayer Breakfast will be Fletcher Mayor Preston Blakely and award-winning author and staff member to the late Representative John Lewis, Andrew Aydin. (To read this entire article, go here.)
The NC Justice Center has created 6 short videos to encourage all who are eligible to vote. These cover a 2022 Call to Action to Vote, Criminal Justice Fines and Fees, Minimum Wage, Workplace Health Safety, Education and Unemployment Insurance. The video above is their first – an Election Call to Action!
Go here to get a link to each video.
Calls to Action or Engagement
- Every Child NC offers an opportunity for faith communities and others to host a free docu-series titled “All Together” that is focused on education equity. Help educate voters about the Leandro Plan and North Carolina’s obligation to meet student needs. Get details and a way to register here.
- Want to support those who often have challenges voting? Want to also have fun, make connections with people who are working to make our state better, and get inspired? Carolina Jews for Justice is one of three statewide partners that are leading weekly “Faith in Action” phone banks every Thursday evening until Election Day. The next phone bank is this Thursday, October 6th, starting at 6:30 pm. Get details for the “Faith in Action” phone banks here as well as a way to sign up for one or more!
- Voter Mobilization Rally is coming to the mountains! Local organizers from the NC Poor People’s Campaign are bringing Rev. William Barber II to lead this rally, October 22nd, 4 pm. The location is still to be determined. Additional details can be found here including how you can be notified of the site if you wish to attend or if you are part of an organization that is interested in being a mobilizing partner.
- The Campaign for Southern Equality is asking people to volunteer to support the LGBTQ community Go here to get details.
- SACE (The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy) is asking people to sign this petition to encourage Senators Shumer and Carper to move the nominations of new board members forward for the Tennessee Valley Authority.
- The National Immigration Law Center is calling on people to sign this petition asking Education Secretary Miguel Cardona to support a set of principles that would prevent the “school to deportation pipeline”.
- 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.
Want to learn more about the Leandro decision? This short video from 2021 from Every Child NC offers background for a decision made over 25 years ago that has yet to be implemented. This case is now in front of the NC Supreme Court.
Please watch and share with other NC residents.
Once you have your sample ballot and view the candidates which will be on your ballot, you can get candidate information through the following:
- Here is the Candidate Guide for those running for the NC General Assembly in WNC and US House District 11 produced by Carolina Jews for Justice-West. Please share this widely with those living in our mountains.
- Common Cause NC has produced this statewide Voter Guide covering important races for US House & Senate and judicial races.
- Check out Vote411 for the latest information on candidates for the midterm elections. This is produced by the League of Women Voters. When you enter your address, the races on the ballot are listed, and you can see candidate information from those that completed the questionnaire.
- Want some information on Buncombe County and Asheville city school board races? The Mountain Xpress offers this article listing the candidates for each.
- Where do candidates that will represent you in the US House and Senate stand on democracy? Common Cause has done a survey of candidates. Go to this link and fill in your address to learn where the candidates stand and whether they completed the survey.
- Finally, there are likely to be races on your ballot where candidate information is not easy to find. A tried and true method that some use is to contact several trusted friends, particularly those who share your values, and get their opinion on the candidates in those races.
Ian Manuel was just 13 when he shot Debbie Baigrie. A year into his life sentence, he called her to apologize. That eventually led to her forgiveness, an unlikely friendship and a mission to help free him.
When the Equal Justice Initiative brought a case to the US Supreme Court challenging life imprisonment for children and won, this laid the groundwork for Ian, with Debbie’s support, to be released.
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.
- It cannot be denied that racism has a strong presence and influence in American society. When we look at how race has been taught in our nation’s schools, we can begin to understand why that is. This article from the Harvard Gazette makes the connection between textbooks and white supremacy.
- The first video in this edition of the e-newsletter highlights the need to fully fund the Leandro decision to create education equity. What would that mean for schools in Buncombe County and the city of Asheville? The NC Justice Center prepared one-page overviews for all school districts in NC. Here are the ones for Buncombe County and Asheville city.
- Buncombe County has released a map of historical landmarks and markers that outline the rich and vibrant history of African Americans in Asheville and Buncombe County. Get details and where to get maps here.
- The history and legacy of Black builders and craftspeople in North Carolina has come 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..
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. This month the Buncombe Community Remembrance Project continues to highlight several items from EJI.
- EJI is currently working with nearly 100 communities to advance Community Remembrance Projects. 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 who were lynched are captured in this document.
- The Equal Justice Initiative shared this webpage of the Historical Markers Installation Ceremony In Asheville on October 30th of 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.
The Equal Justice Initiative has been the partner of the Buncombe Community Remembrance Project since the latter’s inception. This video, produced in 2014, offers some details about EJI’s origin.
It was first started to represent those who were on Death Row. It has evolved into addressing the history of racial injustice and inequity. EJI’s effort brings people together to both acknowledge that history and heal.
Questions (and Answers)
About Booster Shots for COVID-19 Vaccines
by Joseph Fox, Community Response Team
& NC CEAL Team
What You Need to Know:
- If you are moderately or severely immunocompromised (have a weakened immune system), you are at increased risk of severe COVID-19 illness and death. Additionally, your immune response to COVID-19 vaccination may not be as strong as in people who are not immunocompromised.
- As with vaccines for other diseases, you are protected best when you stay up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines
(To read this entire article, go here.)
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.