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Tag: Covid-19

Buncombe County Remembrance Project: March 2021

Moving Forward

It has been almost one year since the COVID-19 pandemic changed our community, the state and nation (and world). That impact continues, and there are several pieces below that provide information to help everyone navigate this challenging time, especially for people of color, including this event happening later today.

February is also a month where Black history is highlighted. This edition shares an effort to recognize the contributions of Blacks as exemplified through the inaugural Rosa Parks awards. These women each share their commitment to the work they’ve done and their appreciation for the honor in a short video. 

Despite the challenges of the pandemic, the Buncombe Community Remembrance Project continues its work. The Equal Justice Initiative from Montgomery, Alabama, continues to support the efforts of communities like ours with this new resource for Community Remembrance Projects. Below, you’ll see highlights of the work that continues in spite of the limitations.

For the almost 300 subscribers to this e-newsletter, thank you for your interest and stepping forward to support this effort. 

If you are interested in learning more about our work groups, go here. If you have questions or want to join a work group, contact Dr. Joseph Fox. Feel free to share any part or all of this e-newsletter with others.

Ron Katz,
Editor


Dr. Fox and group leads share the progress in the Lynching ResearchHistorical Marker, and the Essay Contest work groups in the article that follows. The links in the previous sentence take you to the specific sections for each work group. 

Community Engagement During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The Buncombe Community Remembrance Project Steering Committee continues to meet during the COVID-19 Pandemic via Zoom. We need your help to continue to engage the community in discussions that affect the “Beloved Community”. (Read the entire article here.)

2021 Rosa Parks Award Winner: Tracey Greene-Washington

This year, The Martin Luther King, Jr. Association of Asheville and Buncombe County announced their inaugural Rosa Parks Awards. Four women were honored in February, with each sharing a video on successive Thursdays. The one above is for the latest, Tracey Greene-Washington. Earlier recipients were Libby KylesDr. Sharon West, and Tara Brown. Congratulations to these dynamic members of this community! 

Important News/Events/Stories

This e-newsletter not only covers what the Buncombe Community Remembrance Project is doing but also other news, events and stories that align with its work. See below for some items that are noteworthy:

  1. As in each edition, here are articles, blogs, audios and videos focused on racial inequity. This section also offers efforts to positively address these issues locally, regionally, statewide or nationally.
  2. Moral Mondays are Back: Rev. Dr. William Barber II and the Poor People’s Campaign meet today at 3 pm to continue their efforts to heal the earth and its people. Get details hereThis link is likely to offer information on future Moral Mondays. 
  3. ools to Support COVID-19 Prevention: The Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC) is launching a community health newsletter to provide resources to support the health of Black, African American, Indigenous, Latinx/Hispanic, and other communities of color during the pandemic and beyond. This monthly, equity-focused newsletter includes science-based information and community-based resources to support COVID-19 prevention and vaccine education and to empower informed decision making, individual choice, and community well-being. To receive this monthly newsletter and/or contribute resources, please sign up here or email Jennifer Maurer.
  4. Affordable Care Act Special Enrollment: The Biden Administration has created a special enrollment period for health insurance until May 15th. Get details here
  5. Help Name the Wilma Dykeman Greenway: Wilma Dykeman, who grew up in the Beaverdam valley just north of the Asheville city limits, was one of the early voices of environmental justice. You can vote today to rename Asheville’s central greenway in the River Arts District from the French Broad River Greenway East to the Wilma Dykeman Greenway. Read the full story here
  6. Reading & Interview: The MLK Association, through its Community Outreach Providing Empowerment (COPE) program, features Dr. Stephanie Powell Watts, an African-American novelist and professor at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA. Dr. Powell Watts grew up in Lenoir, NC. After reading from a selection of her works, she will be interviewed by Jim Stokely. Jim is the son of legendary Asheville-based author Wilma Dykeman. This event will be featured on the MLK’s YouTube channel later this month.
  7. Leadership Asheville and the Asheville Area Arts Council are focusing on “Equity in Creative Placemaking” in their four-part winter breakfast series. The third event is March 18th and highlights Maria Jackson. Get the flyer with details here and register here.
  8. The North Carolina Room at Pack Memorial Library is making changes. As of Jan. 22nd, the room will be known as the Buncombe County Special Collections (BCSC). As noted by Director Jim Blanton, “most importantly, it is a critical step forward in making the space more welcoming and inclusive of the entire community.” Get the full story here

The story of Albert Joyner and the children of Old Fort is told in this short film. Back in 1955, Mr. Joyner escorted Black children who wanted to go to an all-white school. The premiere of this film happened recently, and the creation of a mural in downtown Old Fort honoring that day and the struggles of Blacks is shared.   

This is a flyer promoting a survey intended for those interested in home ownership. The details are in the caption.
Are you searching for housing options that are affordable for you? Perhaps you’re interested in home ownership — but not sure where to start. Complete this short survey, and learn more about this effort here

Abbeville, SC is about 2 hours from Asheville. In the video above, you will learn about a man, Anthony Crawford, who was lynched about 100 years ago because he refused to sell his goods for less than they were worth. 

This is a difficult story to hear, but it is important to tell. As Bryan Stevenson so eloquently states, we need to be truth tellers. The Lynching in America website from EJI is dedicated to sharing the history of this era of racial terrorism. 

Financially Supporting the BCRP

The Buncombe Community Remembrance Project’s 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.) 

Pandemic Resources

As the pandemic continues to spread, it remains very important for all to have access to the necessary resources and information. Buncombe County has created this webpage that provides important information and resources to help our community. The state of North Carolina also provides this page that provides valuable information. Please take care, and stay safe.

Image from the National Memorial for Peace and Justice.
Photo taken and provided by woodyeisenbergphotos.com

Above is another image from the National Memorial for Peace and Justice. The view from this angle shows the pillars hanging from 800 counties in the US where a lynching has been documented. In the foreground are replicas of those pillars that counties will be able to take back home and display once they develop a process for coming to terms with their racial history. The Buncombe Community Remembrance Project is planning to bring back the one for Buncombe County. 

Buncombe Community Remembrance Project: February 2021

A New Year & Administration

This past month, the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was honored for the 40th year in our community. Who better to give the keynote address than Dr. Oralene Simmons, founder and president of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Association of Asheville and Buncombe County? This issue includes a link to the annual Prayer Breakfast that was held virtually as well as other videos from the week.

This edition also includes information to help all navigate this pandemic. Of special note is the zoom webinar on Tuesday evening, February 2nd, starting at 6 pm. See below for details, and register here to attend.

This past month also saw the Inauguration of the United States’ 46th president, Joseph Biden, and the first African-American, Asian-American woman vice-president, Kamala Harris. While that historic day also included this poem from Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman, it was held under tight security because of the Capitol riot just two weeks earlier.

It is amazing what can happen in a month, and the Buncombe Community Remembrance Project continues its important work to address racial injustice and bring about the Beloved Community that Dr. King so often evoked. It is hoped that this edition of the e-newsletter, like others, gives you important information on this critical work and provides a way for you and others to participate if you wish. Nearly 300 people are on the e-distribution list, and we welcome all who want to subscribe and support this effort.     

If you are interested in learning more about our work groups, go here. If you have questions or want to join a work group, contact Dr. Joseph Fox. Thanks for your interest. Feel free to share any part or all of this e-newsletter with others. 

Ron Katz
Editor

African American (AA)/Black Community COVID-19 Response Team – Workshop

 A team of academics, practitioners, and organizers are working together throughout North Carolina to address issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The project, commonly called the I-TEAM, stands for Increasing Trustworthiness through Engaged Action and Mobilization.  (Read more)

To register for the workshop on February 2nd, starting at 6 pm, go here.

How do you build trust with people who want to know what is being put into their body, especially when those same people have been deceived for years? Hear Charlotte native and singer Anthony Hamilton offer his thoughts how to approach people of color to take the COVID-19 vaccine. Read the article above for an important workshop and the article below for answers to your questions. 

Questions & Answers – COVID-19 & the Vaccine

A novel coronavirus is a new coronavirus that has not been previously identified in people. Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is caused by the new virus called severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus type 2 (SARS-CoV-2). This is not the same as the coronaviruses that commonly circulate among humans and cause mild illness, like the common cold.

Here are frequently asked questions and answers about COVID-19 clinical studies. Here is a list of important resources from the NC Department of Health and Human Services that is working to reach historically marginalized populations about reducing risks for COVID-19.

Hit the link above for the 40th Annual Prayer Breakfast for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Association of Asheville and Buncombe County. Of special note is the keynote address by the founder, Dr. Oralene Simmons, which starts at 40 minutes.

There are many videos that were presented during this historic Celebration week thanks to the good work of Aisha Adams Media. You can access each through the MLK YouTube channel or find them organized by day and/or topic here

Work Group Reports

The Buncombe Community Remembrance Project has several work groups that are moving the Project along. Below is the latest news from two of those groups. 

Essay Competition Work Group: After a year of preparation, the EJI Racial Justice Essay Contest kicked off on Monday, January 19th. Students across Asheville City and Buncombe County public high schools are researching and writing about local, historical racial justice issues, how those issues manifest in present-day injustices, and how those injustices can “be overcome in order to change the challenges our nation is facing today.” Winners will receive up to $5,000 in scholarships and will be asked to share their work at the historical marker installation ceremony. Special thanks to the teacher committee from both school districts. For more information or if you know of a local public high school student who might be interested, find out more here.

Communications/PR Work Group: The work of the Project depends on this community coming forward to learn and support this effort. Please feel free to share some or all of this e-newsletter with those you think may be interested. For those wishing to subscribe or see past editions, go here

Addressing Racial Inequities

Here are articles, blogs, audios and videos focused on racial injustice. In addition to noting examples of inequities, this section offers efforts to positively address these issues locally, regionally, statewide or nationally.

Rev. Tami Forte Logan from Faith 4 Justice is offering “What’s Love Got to Do with It? White Supremacy in the Church”, a free online event on Saturday, February 13th, from noon to 2 pm. Get details and registration information here

The Death Penalty is one of the ultimate injustices. Please note the following ways to learn and take action:

  • Way to Take Action: For many, one of the most unjust actions governments can take is to take a life through the death penalty. Nationally, this effort is asking the Biden Administration in its first 100 days to abolish the death penalty including three actions you can take.
  • “Racist Roots: The Origin of NC’s Death Penalty” is a powerful collection of articles. Go here to start reading about the past (and recent past) and how NC’s death penalty was built on racism. 
  • There are alternatives to the death penalty, and this website from the NC Coalition for Alternatives to the Death Penalty shares what is happening in NC to end it. 
  • NC CRED (The North Carolina Commission on Racial and Ethnic Disparities in the Criminal Justice System) offers symposiums. Their next one is “Reckoning with Racial Terror: Slavery, the Death Penalty, and Mass Incarceration”. For details and registration for this event on February 5th, 1 pm, go here.  

13th, 14th, and 15 Amendments

by Sarah Thornburg

The 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution were ratified in the five years following the Civil War and became known as the “Reconstruction Amendments.”  These Amendments and other federal legislation enacted during this time sought to redress the inequities of slavery, and thereby “reconstruct” the American South as it was brought back into the Union. (Read more)

The above is the third video from the Equal Justice Initiative that we have included in an issue of this e-newsletter over the last 3 months. It is about Anthony Ray Hinton, who after 30 years on death row for a crime he didn’t commit, was finally exonerated and freed.

This is a difficult story to hear, but it is important to tell. The Lynching in America website from EJI is dedicated to sharing the history of this era of racial terrorism. 

Financially Supporting the BCRP

The Buncombe Community Remembrance Project’s 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. (Note: Make sure to hit the link for the Buncombe Community Remembrance Project Fund in the first optional Question.) 
The funding will help the Project: (See more.) 

Pandemic Resources

As the pandemic continues to spread, it remains very important for all to have access to the necessary resources and information. BCRP wants to ensure all have that easy access and has included several above and the ones below.

Buncombe County has created this webpage that provides important information and resources to help our community. The state of North Carolina also provides this page that provides valuable information. Please take care, and stay safe.

Photo taken and provided by woodyeisenbergphotos.com

Art offers a perspective that touches people in a different and special way. This photo from the National Memorial for Peace and Justice notes the thousands of victims that were lynched whose names are not known.

This video and music from the Asheville Symphony is titled “Reflections of Healing” and addresses the struggles around racism this past year but honors all victims of this plague. 

Buncombe Community Remembrance Project: July 2020

Welcome to the July E-newsletter!

Welcome to the Buncombe Community Remembrance Project July e-newsletter!  The leadership team realizes that our communities are dealing with the continued racial violence that has plagued the country since its inception, as well as the COVID-19 pandemic. We believe that it is even more important for us to continue the work of the Remembrance Project during this most difficult time. As our communities struggle with the impact of the pandemic (sickness, loss of jobs, housing issues, access to food and supplies, food insecurities, the feeling of isolation, stress, addiction, abuse, mental health issues, etc.), coupled with the killing of Black people, the goal of the Remembrance Project of dealing with our racial past is placed in the spotlight. This “perfect storm” of events has forced the nation to see the invisible portion of racial and social inequities that have not been visible to those whose privilege has kept them blinded from the life experiences of Black and Brown communities.See more

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

Updates on the Project’s Work Groups

  • Museum Tours Work GroupWhile we can’t travel to Montgomery yet to visit the Legacy Museum and Memorial for Peace and Justice and other civil rights sites, we can still learn from the Equal Justice initiative (EJI). The pandemic has shown the need to learn and act. This short video produced recently from EJI talks about the legacy of racial injustice, and this video, from 2017, is taken from when the Legacy Museum first opened.. 
  • Communication/PR Work Group:The Buncombe Community Remembrance Project continues to offer this monthly e-newsletter. Many of us are seeing the increasing awareness of people, especially those who are white, of our country’s history and present reality of racial injustice and white supremacy. That awareness has resulted in what may be a tipping point in getting action to support those who have been impacted and oppressed – black, Native American, other people of color, LGBTQ, women to name just some. This issue and future ones will offer ways to learn and take action, especially in the two-pager produced each issue of relevant articles, posts, videos and audios.

     If you are interested in helping any of the Project’s work groups (or have questions), please contact Dr. Joseph Fox.

Opportunities to Learn and Take Action

  • Vance Monument Task Force: The City of Asheville and Buncombe County will be taking applications to serve on this Task Force. The County application will remain open until July 7th. For details, go here. The City announced its process here, with applications due by July 10th
  • The Truth about Confederate Monuments. “Taking down these monuments will not cure the problem, but it is at least an indication that we are ready to deal with the truth.” That is the quote from Jeffery Robinson from the ACLU at the end of this short video. This is an important tool to educate people about the monuments. The full version of this talk is available here.
  • Budget Workshops: Want to learn how government at different levels sets their budget? Just Economics is offering an online series of workshops starting tomorrow, July 2nd at 5 pm. Get information on each of the workshops here. To register, go here
  • New Institute to Start: Lenoir-Rhyne University Asheville, in partnership with Aisha Adams,  announces the founding of the Lenoir-Rhyne Equity and Diversity Institute (LREDI), which is set to debut in late summer 2020. The LREDI curriculum is designed to cultivate positive social transformation by equipping participants with the strategies, tools, and practices necessary to build workplaces and communities that cultivate diversity, inclusivity, and equity.To express interest or see a list of classes being offered, click here.
  • Southern Poverty Law Center: Unfortunately, there is much hate in the world, and this organization has been a leader in identifying hate groups and taking action to stop their efforts. Their website offers a variety of resources and materials for understanding their important work. 
  • Poor People’s Campaign: Despite the pandemic, this “Moral March” became a “Moral Revival”. Reverend Barber reported that more than two and a half million people from all across the country and around the world viewed the program on Facebook alone. This is only the beginning, and the Poor People’s platform is offered here as a critical step to remedy poverty and injustice. This video from Democracy Now includes an interview Rev. Barber.

Addressing Racial Inequities

 Here are some articles, blogs, audios and videos addressing racial inequities. In addition to noting examples of inequities, this section offers some “solutions” or efforts that are trying to positively address these issues.

This Year’s Elections

With a little over months before Election Day (November 3rd), many people may have unanswered questions or uncertainty how the election will happen this fall. A statewide nonpartisan organization, You Can Vote, can help you and others get the answers you need to navigate voting this year.

Their pledge to vote campaign is more than a pledge. They will provide you (and others) with the latest information on the process for voting, check their voter registration, help them register or update their registration if needed, get their sample ballot, and more. Please share this campaign with others.

If you have questions about voting, here is a FAQ sheet from You Can Vote as well as this one offered through a local voting e-newsletter. If you still have questions, email Ron Katz, and he will research your question and get back to you with the answer.  

The Importance of the Census

Have you completed your 2020 Census questionnaire? Now, more than ever, it is critical that you be counted for your community. Census data is used to distribute over 675 billion federal dollars each year for things like roads, schools, hospitals, and emergency services. It is safe and should take less than 10 minutes to complete. Go to www.my2020census.gov and click “Start Questionnaire”. 

You do NOT need a unique ID to complete; simply put in your home address and begin. Don’t have access to a computer? You can also call 844-330-2020, and a Census employee will assist you with your questionnaire. Do your part for our community, and complete your Census questionnaire today!

Pandemic Resources

These are challenging times. Buncombe County has created this webpage that provide important information and resources to help our community. The state of North Carolina also provides this page that provides valuable information.

Equal Justice Initiative

This Project is made possible under the guidance of this extraordinary organization. Some of you may have visited Montgomery, Alabama and seen the Legacy Museum, the Memorial for Peace and Justice, and the new Legacy Pavilion that were created by Bryan Stevenson, the founder of this organization. Still others may have seen the recent film, Just Mercy, based on the book of the same name.

 Here is a copy of a recent report titled “Reconstruction in America: Racial Violence After the Civil War, 1865-1876”, which documents nearly 2,000 more lynchings by white mobs. Copies are also available for purchase for $2 here

Buncombe Community Remembrance Project: June 2020

A Special Message in These Times

The Buncombe Community Remembrance Project looks to the history of our country and Buncombe county for the horrific times when lynching of African-Americans seemed almost commonplace. Bryan Stevenson and the Equal Justice Initiative have provided with the Legacy Museum and others have written and spoken how slavery and lynching have evolved into mass incarceration, but the murder of George Floyd and so many others beg the question whether lynching still continues in this country.

Yesterday, there were many powerful messages offered. Here are two. Please read, watch and hear. 

  1. The Reverend Dr. T. Anthony Spearman, President of the NC NAACP, sent this email to many connected to the NAACP throughout our state. 
  2. Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III in Chicago shared his call to action in this video.

Communicating in the Era of COVID-19

The Buncombe Community Remembrance Project Steering Committee is still working during the COVID-19 pandemic, and they very much want to make sure that we are reaching out especially to our communities of color and allies. We are not only striving to keep you informed and engaged, but we welcome any additional thoughts that you have regarding strategies to obtain feedback and participation from the community. One of our strategies has been the creation of this e-newsletter. 

We have over 170 folks on the distribution list.  Please let us know if you have friends, family, and/or associates that are not receiving the monthly e-newsletter, but they would like to be included.  We are also asking folks like you to continue to share information with your key stakeholders. See more

Ron Katz
Editor

Updates on the Project’s Work Groups

  • Community Engagement Work GroupRev. Damita Wilder and Rebecca Brothers co-chair this work group. They are examining additional strategies to enhance community engagement in addition to the work being accomplished by the Communications/PR Work Group. One of the Community Stakeholders’ Committee members, representing Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI), is currently working with the Committee in order to explore ways art can be utilized in shaping the narrative around racial discrimination, inequities, and contemporary racial trauma.
  • Lynching Research Work Group: Samantha Cole leads this work group. The three members have each taken one of the reported, official lynchings (John Humphreys, Hezekiah Rankin, and Bob Bratchett) to provide a timeline of events that led up to the lynchings, as well as researching local articles pertaining to the lynchings. Here is the piece on Bob Bratchett from Jim Stokely, a local author and researcher.   
  • Museum Tours Work GroupUnder the leadership of Yolanda Adams, this work group was planning a trip to Montgomery to visit the Legacy Museum and Memorial for Peace and Justice. The work group is currently looking at strategies to encourage a virtual tour, as well as the possibilities of a late fall trip to Montgomery. 
  • Communication/PR Work Group:The Buncombe Community Remembrance Project has continued its work during the COVID-19 pandemic utilizing email, the MLK Website, and Zoom meetings as much as possible. Our goal is to keep the momentum from several Community Stakeholders’ and Steering Committee’s meetings moving forward. One of our strategies has been the creation of this monthly e-newsletter edited by Ron Katz, one of the co-chairs. Dr. Oralene Simmons, the second co-chair, is currently working on an article that will be featured in the Urban News as well as distributed to other media sources. See more

     If you are interested in helping any of the Project’s work groups (or have questions), please contact Dr. Joseph Fox

Memorial Day and Juneteenth: The Past as Prologue

W.E.B. DuBois raised the issue in his book, The Souls of Black Folk, pertaining to Negros being the unsolved problem of white folks. The book was originally published in 1903, but it provides the framework to understand how the perceptions of the past are constantly shaping the narrative for the future. Rayford W. Logan, author of The Betrayal of the Negro, stated, “The problem of determining the place that Negroes should occupy in American life was the most difficult of the racial problems that confronted the American government and people after the Civil War” (p. 3). See more

This Year’s Elections

With a little over 5 months before Election Day (November 3rd), there are  unanswered questions and uncertainty. There are many good organizations and resources that are providing answers to those questions that bring a better understanding during these challenging times.

One resource is a free, nonpartisan Voting e-newsletter that comes out typically twice per month that is free and available to all in western North Carolina. Here is the latest issue. If you would like to learn more or subscribe, contact Ron Katz.

Pandemic Resources

These are challenging times. Both Asheville and Buncombe County have created webpages that provide important information and resources to help our community. The state of North Carolina also provides this page that provides valuable information. 

The Importance of the Census

Have you completed your 2020 Census questionnaire? Now, more than ever, it is critical that you be counted for your community. Census data is used to distribute over 675 billion federal dollars each year for things like roads, schools, hospitals, and emergency services. It is safe and should take less than 10 minutes to complete. Go to www.my2020census.gov and click “Start Questionnaire”. 

You do NOT need a unique ID to complete; simply put in your home address and begin. Don’t have access to a computer? You can also call 844-330-2020, and a Census employee will assist you with your questionnaire. Do your part for our community, and complete your Census questionnaire today!

Racial Inequities

 Here are some articles, blogs, audios and videos addressing racial inequities. In addition to noting examples of inequities, this section offers some “solutions” or efforts that are trying to positively address these issues.

Equal Justice Initiative

This Project is made possible under the guidance of this extraordinary organization. Some of you may have visited Montgomery, Alabama and seen the Legacy Museum, the Memorial for Peace and Justice, and the new Legacy Pavilion that were created by Bryan Stevenson, the founder of this organization. Still others may have seen the recent film, Just Mercy, based on the book of the same name. 

It is important this organization is acknowledged for the leadership it provides not only to this Project but to other projects and efforts to address the history and reality of racial inequities throughout the United States. Democracy Now offered this video about the opening of the Legacy Museum and Memorial for Peace and Justice back in spring, 2018.

Buncombe Community Remembrance Project: May 2020

Welcome!

Thanks for your interest in the Buncombe Community Remembrance Project. You are one of more than 150 people who have expressed such an interest.

This is the second issue of this e-newsletter. When the Project first got started, it held regular meetings, but COVID-19 has forced every one of us to adapt. It is important that you and others in our community know the work continues, and this e-newsletter will be one of the ways to inform you of the progress of this Project. This e-newsletter will also include timely information on relevant topics. For example, you’ll see information on the census and racial justice/equity in this issue.

As mentioned in the premiere issue from Dr. Joseph Fox, our Project Coordinator, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Association of Asheville and Buncombe County is the lead organization in partnership with over twenty community-based organizations located throughout the county. The Buncombe Community Remembrance Project is governed by a Steering Committee composed of representatives from seventeen organizations and a larger Community Stakeholders’ Group.

What is key is that the Project’s work is being conducted utilizing a number of work groups.If you are interested in supporting this effort or joining one of the work groups, let Dr. Fox know. If you have something you wish to contribute to this e-newsletter, feel free to contact the editor. Thanks for all you do, and please stay safe.

Ron Katz
Editor

Updates on the Project’s Work Groups

  • Lynching Research Work Group: Thanks to resources from the North Carolina Room at Pack Memorial Library in Downtown Asheville, this work group has been able to access newspaper records covering the three racial terror lynching cases confirmed by researchers at the Equal Justice Initiative. (Here is a 2015 Carolina Public Press article that offers some details about a number of lynchings in WNC including the three from Buncombe County.) Work group members used the records to produce timelines for the three lynchings, helping identify avenues for further archival research. These include details about the victims, lynching suspects, and names of members of law enforcement and government associated with surrounding events.
  • Historical Marker Work Group: The Equal Justice Initiative, founded by Bryan Stevenson in 1989, was established to educate the public about mass incarceration, excessive punishment of prisoners, and to shine an equity lens on racial and economic disparities existing in communities of color. Click here to read the report for this work group.  
  • Communication/PR Work Group: This is the second e-newsletter for the Project. Starting in May, the plan is for these e-newsletters to come out monthly. If you missed the first issue, you can see it here.

If you are interested in helping any of these work groups (or have questions), please contact Dr. Joseph Fox

The Importance of the Census

Have you completed your 2020 Census questionnaire? Now, more than ever, it is critical that you be counted for your community. Census data is used to distribute over 675 billion federal dollars each year for things like roads, schools, hospitals, and emergency services. It is safe and should take less than 10 minutes to complete. Go to www.my2020census.gov and click “Start Questionnaire”. 

You do NOT need a unique ID to complete; simply put in your home address and begin. Don’t have access to a computer? You can also call 844-330-2020. and a Census employee will assist you with your questionnaire. Do your part for our community, and complete your Census questionnaire today!

Racial Inequities

Here are some articles, audios and videos addressing racial inequities. These are not easy issues to talk about, but groups like the Racial Equity Collective, Building Bridges, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Association, and others have been addressing them in our community. In addition to noting examples of inequities, this section will offer some “solutions” or efforts that are trying to positively address these issues. 

Equal Justice Initiative

This Project is made possible under the guidance of this extraordinary organization. Some of you may have visited Montgomery, Alabama and seen the Legacy Museum, the Memorial for Peace and Justice, and the new Legacy Pavilion that were created by Bryan Stevenson, the founder of this organization. Still others may have seen the recent film, Just Mercy, based on the book of the same name. 

It is important this organization is acknowledged for the leadership it provides not only to this Project but to other projects and efforts to address the history and reality of racial inequities throughout the United States. If you are interested in hearing more about Bryan Stevenson, watch this important documentary, True Justice.

Buncombe Community Remembrance Project: Premiere Issue

Welcome!     

Welcome to the inaugural edition of the Buncombe Community Remembrance Project e-newsletter!  We would like to express much gratitude to Ron Katz for spearheading this effort to keep our community abreast of this initiative that recognizes individuals lynched in Buncombe County between 1877 – 1950. The project is in conjunction with the Equal Justice Initiative’s (EJI) research that has documented over 4,400 African Americans that were lynched during that time period in at least twenty states. The Martin Luther King, Jr. Association of Asheville and Buncombe County is the lead organization of this project in partnership with over twenty community-based organizations located throughout the county. The EJI. located in Montgomery, Alabama, states, “The Equal Justice Initiative is committed to ending mass incarceration and excessive punishment in the United States, to challenging racial and economic injustice, and to protecting basic human rights for the most vulnerable people in American society.”

The focus of the Buncombe Community Remembrance Project is to more accurately reflect the history of racial and economic injustice and inequity in Buncombe County; provide safe spaces for healing from the silent trauma surrounding racial violence; foster local conversations and foster community healing; and to provide events that utilize truth telling, educational programming and reconciliation  that lead to transformational narratives. The Project seeks to recognize the three individuals thus far who have been identified as being lynched during the researched time period with the installation of a historical marker in Asheville/Buncombe County. A second component of the Buncombe Community Remembrance Project is claiming/placing a Memorial monument in recognition of individuals lynched in the County, as well as soil collection that reflects the history of lynching and modern-day challenges of racial inequality. 

The Buncombe Community Remembrance Project is governed by a Steering Community composed of representatives from seventeen organizations and a larger Community Stakeholders’ Group. The Project’s work is being conducted utilizing a number of work groups that we hope you will be interested in participating in as we continue this most important work!

Read on to determine your level of involvement. And again, welcome to this first edition of the Buncombe Community Remembrance Project e-newsletter!


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

The Coronavirus and Our Project

All of us have been and are continuing to be impacted by the pandemic that is affecting our community, state, nation and world. We understand that under the circumstances, many of us are focused on taking care of our immediate circle of family, friends, and acquaintances. We do not wish nor do we ask you to do anything at this time that might jeopardize what you need to do. 

This first issue of this e-newsletter has been created to ensure that you and more than 140 others thus far who have expressed an interest in this Project are “kept in the loop” on its progress. We are also including many of our elected officials and community leaders as well.

If you feel called to help at this time, we would welcome your support, but for now, updating you on our progress is our main goal. Thank you!

What Does Racial Healing Mean to You?

This Project is interested in learning what you think about racial inequity and healing. Please take a few minutes to answer the questions on this survey. Thanks for your consideration!

What are the Work Groups?

When the Buncombe Community Remembrance Project first got started, those attending noted two critical elements that needed to be in place. First, there was a need for a group to guide the Project, and the steering committee Dr. Fox referenced above provides that direction. However, there is much work that needs to be done. That is where the work groups fit in. 

Here is a listing of the work groups that have been created. Please take some time to read. If you are interested in helping any of these work groups (or have questions), please contact Dr. Joseph Fox

Many of these work groups are moving forward on efforts to address their responsibilities. Here is information on what some of the work groups have done or are doing at this time.

Equal Justice Initiative

As Dr. Fox noted in his welcome, this Project is made possible under the guidance of this extraordinary organization. Some of you may have visited Montgomery, Alabama and seen the Legacy Museum, the Memorial for Peace and Justice, and the new Legacy Pavilion that were created by Bryan Stevenson, the founder of this organization. Still others may have seen the recent film, Just Mercy, based on the book of the same name.  
     It is important this organization is acknowledged for the leadership it provides not only to this Project but to other projects and efforts to address the history and reality of racial inequities throughout the United States. If you are interested in hearing more about Bryan Stevenson, check out this TED Talk

CONTRIBUTE

To the MLK Association or the Scholarship Fund to aid our mission of
preserving and advancing the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

GET IN TOUCH

The MLK Association of Asheville &
Buncombe County, Inc.
PO Box 328
Asheville, NC 28802-0328

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