On Tuesday night, the Asheville City Council voted unanimously to formally apologize to its Black community. The apology addressed the city's role in slavery, discriminatory housing practices, and other racist policies. But it didn't stop there. The move also approved a plan to shell out reparations to Black citizens.
These reparations won't come in the form of lump-sum payments like a Chappelle's Show sketch. Instead, Asheville will show its commitment to the Black community by "increasing minority homeownership," "increasing minority business ownership and career opportunities," and implementing "strategies to grow equity and generational wealth."
Councilman Keith Young helped push the movement. In a statement to ABC News, he explained that the council was looking to "to embed systemic solutions."
"This process begins and is perpetual, repeating this process over and over again," Young explained. "There is no completion box to check off."
Mayor Esther Manheimer signed the resolution and called for the creation of a Community Reparations Commission. This commission will be comprised of businesses, local groups, and elected officials who will help detail recommendations and implement long-term and short-term resolutions.
Young is hopeful that a new step will be added toward equity in the community every six months. The council is also calling on state and federal officials to follow suit.
"This work does not end and will be adaptive, no matter what governing body holds office or who runs our city," Young said.
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