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"Our LIVES Begin To End The Day
We Become SILENT About Things That MATTER"
-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Buncombe Community Remembrance Project: December 2022

After the Midterm Election, What is Next?

This has been a busy time, and during this holiday season, it is time for everyone to rest and take stock of what the year has brought. There is much to be thankful for, but there remains a lot of work to do. In Buncombe County, one of the blessings is that there are so many groups and individuals that are working for racial and social justice.

Looking to the future, it is important to see what is next. Here are just some items that are upcoming or in process.

  1. One of the annual events that had to change its format for the last two years is returning to an in-person setting. The Martin Luther King, Jr. Prayer Breakfast and activities associated with this important event are planned once again for this January. In sections below are details about the March, Rally and Breakfast. For those interested in getting tickets or a table for the Breakfast or making a donation, go here
  2. Important strides are being made to address reparations in Asheville and Buncombe County. Buncombe County has a few openings for its representatives on the Reparations Commission. Here are details. The deadline to apply is December 8th.
  3. The YMI Cultural Center started renovation on its building this past month. Get details from this press release from the YMI and this article from the Asheville Citizen-Times.

As the year comes to an end, it is important to acknowledge those who are working to make Buncombe County, our region, state, nation and world a better place. Thanks to the 369 subscribers of this e-newsletter for your interest and actions you have taken and continue to take.

As always, please feel free to share any part or all of this e-newsletter with anyone you wish.

Ron Katz

Peace March and Rally Returns to St. James AME Church

by Joseph Fox, Ed.D., MBA, PHR
Former Peace March and Rally Chair

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Association of Asheville and Buncombe County’s 2023 Peace March and Rally will return to St. James AME Church, located at 44 Hildebrand Street, Asheville, after the Church’s renovation and two years of online programing due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. The Peace March and Rally will commence at St. James AME Church at 11:30 a.m., on Monday, January 16, 2023, prior to the “March” to Pack Square Park after the Church portion of the Program.

(Read this entire article here.)

The Center for Death Penalty Litigation has produced this important film, “Racist Roots”. The film explores the racist origins of North Carolina’s death penalty. It traces the history of capital punishment from slavery to Jim Crow to our modern age of mass incarceration.

Please note the film has a warning that it depicts racial violence.

Calls to Action or Engagement

In this section, the Project highlights ways for people to take action or be engaged in important events or activities.

New & Upcoming:

  1. 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 including the Prayer Breakfast. This will be the 42nd year of service and celebration, and the theme is Audacious Action During Uncertain Times. Get details from this article that also appeared in the last two editions of this e-newsletter. 
  2. Pisgah Legal Services has announced that open enrollment has started for Marketplace health insurance and will be available until January 15th, 2023. Get details from their website
  3. The Reparations Stakeholders Authority of Asheville has created the RSAA Reparations Fund. Here is information on how people can learn and support this effort organized by the Tzedek Social Justice Fund.
  4. Members of the Jewish community in WNC are working together to address racial injustice in our community. It starts with learning, but plans are moving forward on ways to take action. A new quarterly e-newsletter, “Becoming Antiracist”, has been started. If you are interested in learning more, contact Adrienne Hollifield.
  5. Common Cause NC is asking people to express their thanks to all the election workers and volunteers that came forward to administer the midterm elections. You can sign on here.


  1. The Racial Justice Coalition has a 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.
  2. Want to have fun and learn about the history of Black Asheville? Take a Hood Huggers Tour. Get details here.
  3. 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

In this video from California Newsreel, one of the factors that has created the racial wealth gap is explored. The focus is on redlining, a policy that was created by the federal government that led to “white flight” and decreasing housing values in integrated neighborhoods.

Important News/Events/Stories

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.

  1. 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. 
  2. The Racial Justice Coalition completed an important report to learn from those most impacted by structural racism in Asheville and Buncombe County. Get details and a link to the report here
  3. In this article from the Citizen-Times, it is reported that Just Economics and other groups are working with tenants to potentially create a tenants union locally. 
  4. In this blogpost from the Economic Policy Institute, the writers note that the economic relief packages passed in 2021 made a significant impact on the economic health of workers that are Black and Brown. They note those relief packages should be continued
  5. In this segment from the PBS NewsHour, reporter Margaret Sullivan shares the problems with how the media covers elections. She says, “[o]ne thing I’m pretty sure we should stop doing is trying to predict the future because we’re so bad at it.” She further states, “I think more than anything getting across to our audiences and to citizens, what the stakes of the elections are, is the most important thing to focus on the issues more and the horse race less.”

Oral arguments are set to begin on December 7th for the Moore v. Harper case. To provide information about what is at stake, the Brennan Center put together this short video that outlines the specifics of the case and the danger to our democracy.

Want more detail about Moore v. Harper? The Southern Coalition for Social Justice and Common Cause NC are two of the lead organizations promoting ways for people to learn and take action. Here is their slide presentation from the Map our Futures tour that outlines important information for people to know.

Common Cause NC and other groups are leading efforts to address the pending Moore v. Harper court case in front of the US Supreme Court. For those organizations interested in playing a role, please complete this partner form to express your interest.

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. As in each edition of this e-newsletter, the Buncombe Community Remembrance Project continues to highlight several items from EJI.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. The full stories about each of the three men who were lynched are captured in this document
  4. The Equal Justice Initiative shared this webpage of the Historical Markers Installation Ceremony In Asheville on October 30th of 2021.

  Here are two additional items from the Equal Justice Initiative that the Project wants to share:

  1. Want to stay connected to the work of the Equal Justice Initiative? Sign up for updates about their work here.
  2. 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.

Learn about the United for Youth network from this video taken when school started this fall. This network brings together people and organizations throughout Buncombe county.

Celebrating the Holidays and Staying Safe

by Joseph Fox, NC CEAL Team & 
COVID-19 Community Response Team

The holidays are a great time for family and friends to gather, visit together, and enjoy each other’s company. It is also the time to think about keeping your most vulnerable friends and loved ones safe not only from COVID-19, but also the uptick in flu and the Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV). The colder months, coupled with the changes in masking policies, provide the perfect storm for infections.

(Read the entire article here.) 

Pandemic Resources

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.

Additionally, the NC Black Alliance offers this webpage dedicated to the latest information on COVID-19 for members of the Black community.

California Newsreel, Common Cause NC, Just Economics, Margaret Sullivan, Moore v. Harper case, Pandemic Resources, Peace March and Rally, Prayer Breakfast, Racist Roots, St. James AME Church, Tzedek Social Justice Fund, United for Youth network, Vote

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