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We Become SILENT About Things That MATTER"
-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

M.A.R.C.H Newsletter: February 2024

The purpose of the M.A.R.C.H. newsletter is spelled out:

“M” is for Memory. The core purpose of this newsletter is remembering, honoring, and learning from the lived experiences of our elders be it here in the community, across the state or nation.

“A” is for Awareness. The purpose of memory is to guide our awareness, so that we understand the context and complexity of the work that is needed regarding achieving racial and social justice.

“R” is for Resilience. Memory and awareness are built on the resilience of our spirit. Racial and social justice work requires one to be mentally, physically, and emotionally strong and the purpose of this newsletter is to build up that needed strength.

“C” is for Community. The purpose of this newsletter is to remind us that our strength to fight for racial and social justice is fueled by knowing that the work is not done in solitude but in solidarity. As Dr. King said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

“H” is for Hope. We know that racial and social justice is not just going to happen. Our hope is that through our actions of voice, feet, or mind we will get closer to it happening. This newsletter highlights ways folks are working toward the goal of this nation truly being a place of racial and social justice for all.

This e-newsletter shares what the MLK Association and its Community Outreach Providing Empowerment (COPE) Program is doing and offers other news, events, and stories that align with its efforts. Below are some items that are noteworthy.



The MLK Association’s John Lewis Awards

Honoring African American men who serve our community!

4:30 pm
February 20, 2024
Black Wall Street AVL
8 River Arts Place 


Down Home NC Voting Guide and Voting Resource

Learn More


Opal Lee is known as the “Grandmother of Juneteenth.” A racist mob forced her out of her childhood home 80 years ago. She’s about to move into a new home on that site. Article

  • The “Doomsday Clock” shows the Earth to be 90 seconds from midnight. article 
  • A recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) estimates that 26,313 rape-related pregnancies have occurred in Texas in the 16 months since they enacted a total abortion ban. article 
  • Advances in childhood cancer have stalled for Blacks and Latinos. article 
  • The death of Emmy award-winning actor Andre Braugher highlights the elevated risk of lung cancer in Black men. article 
  • Congresswoman Nikema Williams (D-GA) has proposed creating a federal-grant to help students at HBCU’s start businesses. article 
  • 121 potential Black grave sites were found at MacDill Air Force base in Florida. article  
  • Prisoner labor is America’s hidden workforce thzt is linked to many popular food brands. article 

  • A Federal District Court judge has denied 2 Black voters’ request for NC to stop using the new Senate districts in northeastern NC. article 
  • Dr. Eboni Bell is using self-esteem dolls to tackle mental health issues for young people in NC. article 
  • After spending 44 years in a NC prison, Ronnie Long has been exonerated and awarded $25 million in the settlement of his suit regarding his wrongful imprisonment. article 

Click here to register


  • A federal judge ruled that for now the U.S. Military Academy at West Point can continue to consider race when considering applicants. article 
  • The College Board has revised its Black history course set to start later this year. article 
  • The Florida State Board of Education ruled to permanently prohibit DEI at public colleges. article 
  • Schools are the most common hate crime location. article 
  • US Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), chair of the House Education Committee has begun investigating “wokeness” on college campuses. article 
  • When Book bans strike back! Conservative commentator Bill O’Reilly’s books got banned in Florida. article 
  • This article shows why to many the argument that educational opportunities rest on “merit” appear false. 

A new bookstore in Florida celebrates Black history.


Criminal Record Expungement Listen & Learn

Hosted by Legal Aid of NC
Tuesday, February 6th from 2:30-4:00pm
Watch live via Facebook  


  • Acclaimed civil rights attorney and historian Bryan Stevenson reflects on race in America. article 
  • The Voting Rights Act faces an increased number of threats in 2024. article 
  • Judge bars EPA from enforcing Civil Rights Act provisions in Louisiana’s “Cancer Alley.” article 
  • Hiring discrimination against African Americans hasn’t declined in 25-years. article 
  • Online racism is linked to PTSD symptoms in Black youth. article 
  • Minnesota has a new state flag and seal replacing the old state symbols that emphasized traumatic memories for Native Americans. article 
  • A bronze statue of Jackie Robinson was stolen from a park in Wichita, KS park and burned to ash. article 
  • Quinta Bronson was the first Black comedy lead actress winner of an Emmy in 40 years. article 
  • The entertainment industries pledge to reexamine its hiring practices regarding women and People of Color, in the wake of George Floyd, was more performative than productive. article 
  • Ballerinas of color are still fighting for pointe shoes in every color. article

  • The racial bias lawsuit against the city by 5 white Asheville residents has been denied. article 
  • Human trafficking is a growing concern across the state and locally. article 
  • Buncombe County has a few options for providing locally grown food, even in the winter. article 
  • James Beard Award finalist Chef Ashleigh Shanti has opened her much anticipated restaurant, Good Hot Fish. article 

The Black History 101 Mobile Museum’s Music of the Movement Exhibit 

is a free event and open to the public. This exhibit celebrates the rich legacy of Black music while also highlighting the ongoing struggle for racial justice in America. Through a diverse range of rare artifacts visitors will gain a deeper understanding of the important role that Black music has played in shaping social, cultural, and political movements throughout history. Visitors will have the opportunity to learn about the achievements of Black musicians, leaders, and activists who have fought for racial equality and justice in America and beyond.

  • Mon. 2/5 UNC-A 10am-3pm, Blue Ridge Room, noon lecture
  • Tue. 2/6 MHU 10am-3pm, Broyhill Chapel, 11am lecture
  • Wed. 2/7 WCU 10am-3pm, UC Multipurpose Room, 232, 12:30pm lecture

The Asheville and Buncombe County Community Reparations ComissionCommission webpage

  • The Commission’s project page Project page  
  • The next meeting of the Community Reparations Commission is scheduled for February 19, 2024 from 6pm-8pm at Harrah’s Cherokee Center – Banquet Room:  87 Haywood Street,  Asheville, NC 28801

The Reparations Stakeholders Authority of Asheville has created the RSAA Reparations FundHere is information on how people can learn and support this effort organized by the Tzedek Social Justice Fund. 

The Asheville Racial Justice Coalition encouraged people to support the Asheville Buncombe Community Reparations Commission’s request for an 8-month extension to do its work. Go here  for an update of the City and County’s response to that request. Here is the Citizen Times article about the report.


Reserve your free tickets here 


Black Wall Street AVL works to support Black Businesses in Asheville. GrindFest 2024 will be May 24-26. Check out their website for more information about this and other events!

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 Fridays from 3pm-7pm every week. Get details about how to book a tour, volunteering or taking part in their other community actions here.  

The Color of Asheville’s Black-Owned Businesses and Community directory


Calling all poetry lovers! We’re now hosting a monthly Poetry Slam Night with The Pot Stirred in The Canopy. Test out your poetry skills or come to just listen and vibe. Come be a part of Poetry Slam Night every second Sunday of the month starting at 6:30 pm. Sun. Feb. 11th 6:30pm-9pm at The Canopy at Art Garden 191 Lyman St,
Suite 316,  Asheville, NC 28801
$5 to listen, $10 to slam – Pay at the door


The Shiloh Community Association monthly meeting is

The next East End/Valley Street Neighborhood Association Meeting is Thursday, March 14, at 6 pm. Location TBA. If you have something important to share with the neighborhood, please reach out to us at EastEndValleyStreet@gmail.com. We’ll do our best to accommodate your request.


Resources of Interest

The National Museum of African American History & Culture has 500,000 pages of Freedman’s Bureau records available online. https://nmaahc.si.edu/explore/freedmens-bureau 

The Official mapping Police Violence database – https://mappingpoliceviolence.us/ 


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, we will continue to highlight several items from the 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.

     Please remember:

  1. Do you 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.

The NC Black Alliance offers this webpage with a page entitled – “Access to Healthcare: What You Need to Know” along with other pages that have articles and information concerning the Black community.

Black History, Down Home NC Voting Guide, Education, Expungement, John Lewis Awards, Opal Lee

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