Buncombe Community Remembrance Project: May 2023
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.
The NC Supreme Court has overturned the previous court’s decision that made excessive gerrymandering and voter ID laws illegal. These practices are seen as methods to suppress Black citizens ability to vote. Read about the decision in this article.
- Watch when TN state representatives Justin Jones (watch) and Justin Pearson (watch) each returned to the TN state house chamber following their expulsion.
- A report shows that TN is last in the US in regard to democracy. NC is barely ahead. (read article)
- NC state representative Tricia Cotham changes from Democrat to Republican giving the GOP veto-proof control of the NC General Assembly. (read article)
- The ACLU opposes NC’s new anti-riot law in federal court. They see it as a way to curb people’s 1st amendment right to protest. (read article)
- A National Urban League report finds that democracy for Black Americans is under attack. (read article)
- Voting rights for college students face a hidden attack. (read article)
The Chronicle of Higher Education is tracking legislation that would prohibit colleges from having diversity, equity, and inclusion offices/staff; ban mandatory diversity training; prohibit institutions from using diversity statements in hiring and promotion; or prohibit colleges from using race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in admissions or employment. (DEI Legislation Tracker)
In this report, the Sentencing Project shared that the United States embarked on an effort of mass incarceration starting 50 years ago. They note the importance for action to be taken to reverse course.
The NC Coalition for Alternatives to the Death Penalty delivered its letter to Governor Cooper asking him to commute the sentences for all those currently facing the death penalty. It included the signatures of more than 300 faith leaders. There is time for other faith leaders to sign by going here.
Issues in Education
- The NC Republican controlled General Assembly is moving to take control of NC K-12 teaching standards. (read article)
- A report shows that NC is one of the leading states in having the most “underqualified” teachers in the classroom. (read report)
- Having students avoid studying race and America’s racial history hurts them in long run rather than helps them. (read article)
- Republicans in Louisiana are working to ban studying racism at universities in the state. (read article)
- Moms for Liberty is a far-right group targeting teachers, administrators, parents, and school board members. (read article)
- The American Library Association’s top 13 banned books of 2022. (read article)
- GOP supermajority states across the South are threatening Black voting rights. (read article)
- Who is reporting the news and what they report on is just as important as where you go to get the news. (Pew Research report)
- There is a systematic lack of investment by businesses in Black-majority neighborhoods, regardless of the average level of income. (Brookings Institute report)
- The toll that racist interactions maybe increasing Black women’s risk of heart disease was reported in the American Heart Association News.
- A look at the fight to keep the few Historic Black towns left in the US from disappearing. (read article)
- In this segment from the PBS NewsHour, artist Kehinde Wiley is highlighted for his use of historic icons to expose systemic violence against Black people.
- The harms caused by Confederate monuments are mental, emotional, and long lasting. (Confederate monuments)
- Over the past year 7 Confederate monuments have been removed in NC, 173 remain. (read article)
- As the controversy surrounding the TN 3 took place, TN lawmakers quietly celebrated the Confederacy. (read article)
- The NC Constitution still has a law that calls for a literacy test in order to vote. A bipartisan effort to have a constitutional amendment removing it is being proposed. Learn about the history of the test from Democracy NC here.
- Buncombe County-based nonprofit and government organizations are eligible to submit applications to the Asheville and Buncombe County’s Tourism Product Development Fund (TPDF). The deadline for submissions is May 17. Read an article about the fund here More information about the TPDF can be found here in the TDPF Guidelines.
- Keep up with local businesses offerings and efforts Go local asheville.
- The northeast NC African American history trail celebrates and educates people about the African American experience in northeastern NC. (read article)
In-Person Racial Justice Community Workshop
YWCA of Asheville is excited to present our first in-person Racial Justice Community Workshop. The workshop will take place on two Thursday evenings, May 4 and May 11, from 5 until 7 p.m., and will explore anti-Black racism, overlapping systems of oppression, and racial equity in Asheville and Buncombe County. Follow the link to register for this IN-PERSON workshop.
CULTURE: A Dinner Influenced by the African Diaspora
The May 7 Asheville dinner event will proudly support Building Bridges. Seven remarkably talented and select chefs from across the Southeastern United States led by James Beard Nominated chef Cleophus Hethington collaborate together to create an incredible menu influenced by the African diaspora- the worldwide collection of communities descended from native Africans or people from Africa, predominantly in the Americas. Click HERE for more information and to purchase tickets.
The City of Asheville and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Association are in partnership to put on a week-long 2023 Juneteenth Celebration! Click on this link to see the events planned for the week of Monday 6/12 – Sunday 6/18.
The Asheville and Buncombe County Community Reparations Commission
- The Commission’s project page.
- The next meeting of the Community Reparations Commission is scheduled for May 15, 2023 from 6pm-8pm at Harrah’s Cherokee Center – Banquet Room: 87 Haywood Street, Asheville, NC 28801.
The Racial Justice Coalition
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.
The Coalition also recently had a zoom meeting where they shared opportunities for people to volunteer. To learn more and to participate in a two day training, go here.
RSAA Reparations Fund
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.
Hood Huggers offers a fun way to learn about the history of Black Asheville. They also organize volunteer opportunities at the Peace Garden – there are regular Community volunteer days. The Farm stand is open on Friday’s from 3pm-7pm every week. Get details about how to book a tour, volunteering or taking part in their other community actions here.
Building Bridges: Sign up to receive information about the next nine week session which will take place in the Fall with the dates to be announced this summer. These sessions are designed to foster crucial conversations around racism and antiracism.
The Color of Asheville’s “Black-Owned Businesses and Community Directory”
Shiloh Supporting an Asheville community Shiloh Resource Center
Shiloh Resource Center
Supporting an Asheville community Shiloh Resource Center
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.
- 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 2021.
- That if you 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.
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.
banned books, battling racism, Building Bridges, DEI Legislation Tracker, Education, Hood Huggers, Juneteenth, Justin Jones, Justin Pearson, National Urban League report, Pandemic Resources, Racial Justice Coalition, Reparations, Rosa Parks Awards, RSAA Reparations Fund, Sentencing Project, Shiloh Resource Center, Tricia Cotham, upcoming events, voter laws, voter supression