Buncombe County Remembrance Project: October 2020
Welcome to another edition of the Buncombe Community Remembrance Project (BCRP) e-newsletter! Our readership continues to grow, and we want to thank all of you that are sharing the e-newsletters with others.
We are excited to announce our partnership with the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina (CFWNC) that has set up a fund on behalf of the Remembrance Project. (see more about this partnership and how people can donate)
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
- Communication/PR Work Group: This work group has developed a BCRP brochure that is now available to share with the public and various groups throughout Asheville and Buncombe County. Anyone who wishes to have hard copies of the brochures should contact Dr. Joseph Fox with the number of requested brochures and the mailing address in which to send the brochures. An electronic copy of the brochure is also available. (see more)
- Community Engagement Work Group: This work group is reaching out to local artists of color for a 2021 art exhibit that will focus on past racial violence. The project will use art to reshape the narrative while providing truth telling through the use of art.
- Museum Tour Work Group: This work group is reaching out to local Chamber of Commerce offices and museums to identify online tour options until it is possible to physically tour museums in person.
- Lynching Research Work Group: This work group has been researching the three individuals of record that were lynched in Buncombe County (John Humphreys, Hezekiah Rankin, and Bob Brackett). They are also reaching out to individuals and organizations to find out about other acts of racial violence that have occurred throughout the history of Buncombe County. (see more)
- Logistic/Historical Marker Site Location Work Group: In the September e-newsletter, a short survey pertaining to possible site locations was offered. Thirty-two (32) people responded, and the overwhelming first choice was the Vance Monument location for the Historical Marker. The Committee continues to seek input from the community pertaining to possible locations for the Historical Marker.
- Buncombe County currently have an essay that they are working on pertaining to “Do the Right Thing…” EJI’s (Equal Justice Initiative’s) essay prompts students to examine the history of a topic of racial injustice and to discuss its legacy today. Essays should explain the chosen topic using one or more specific historical events, explore how the injustice persists, and imagine solutions for a future free from racial injustice. This work group is currently seeking additional members as well as starting efforts to reach out to teachers and students pertaining to the essay competition.
- Educational Outreach Work Group: This work group and the Community Engagement Work Group are currently being combined with the Communications/PR Workgroup.
- Compliance Work Group: This work group has received four EJI Guides that will be reviewed to make sure that the BCRP is aligned with any changes implemented by EJI since the inception of the Project.
BCRP Seeks Proposals
The BCRP is seeking proposals for the following services:
- YouTube Channel Manager
- Healing/Truth Telling Workshops Facilitators
As the Project continues to pivot during the COVID-19 Pandemic, it has become painfully clear that community engagement strategies and community informational sessions must continue to rely on virtual online forums. (see more)
The Historical Marker and the Present-Day Movement
As members of the BCRP Steering Committee attempt to provide information about the Remembrance Project during the COVID-19 Pandemic, we do not want to lose sight of the historic importance of the Marker. The Committee recognizes that individuals and communities are struggling during this time not only from the Pandemic, but the racial divide that continues to separate the nation. As folks grapple with trying to understand the killings of Black and Brown women and men, the truth of the matter is this has been the pattern in our communities for more than 400 years. (see more)
Addressing Racial Inequities
Here are some articles, blogs, audios and videos chosen that address racial inequities. In addition to noting examples of inequities, this section offers some “solutions” or efforts that are trying to positively address these issues.
Are You Ready to Vote?
With 33 days before Election Day and 14 days before Early Voting starts, below are some important links to help you and others navigate voting this year.
- To navigate voting, you need to have a plan in place AND implement that plan. Here are some key elements to help you have a successful experience voting this year.
- Once you know the races that are on your ballot, it is important to know where candidates stand on the issues. Here is a list of some nonpartisan guides to help you get that information.
- There are events that can offer important information as well on voting and the candidates. This calendar includes candidate forums and other events.
- There are some people who want to support efforts to promote voting. Here are some opportunities headed by nonpartisan organizations working to promote voting locally, regionally, statewide and nationally.
- Videos can often share important messages. This YouTube channel, locally produced, offers two videos currently on voting. More are being developed. Please review and share.
Each of the links above will be updated as needed prior to Election Day to provide the latest information, so if you want to keep abreast of the changes, save this e-newsletter or the links for those updates. Feel free to contact Ron Katz should you have questions.
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.
About the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI)
“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.” That is the opening sentence of the About webpage for EJI.
While the Buncombe Community Remembrance Project looks to the history of racism, slavery, and lynching, it also looks forward to a reconciliation process. Through the Montgomery civil rights sites, including the Legacy Museum and the Memorial for Peace and Justice, all can see the history that has often been hidden, but acting on that history is crucial.
The hope is that this work leads to a truth and reconciliation process in our community (and others). It takes willingness on the part of all to venture into these uncomfortable times in the past (and now the present) to make for a better day. Please join us and share with all the efforts that the Project and other groups are taking.