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Tag: EJI

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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WHAT’S NEXT?

Prayer Breakfast: Saturday, January 18, 2020. Join us for the 39th annual event at the Crowne Plaza hotel in Asheville, NC.

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