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Equity Advancement: Commissioners Approve Nondiscrimination Ordinance

An ordinance that bolsters Buncombe County’s commitment toward its 2025 Strategic Plan goal of increasing equity was approved by Commissioners during their April 20 meeting. The nondiscrimination ordinance protects access to private employment and public accommodations. “This is an opportunity to step forward and closer to a reality where all people are treated fairly and have the opportunity to thrive… helping to create public safety systems that truly protect all people,” said Commissioner Jasmine Beach-Ferrara.

The nondiscrimination ordinance defines discrimination as any difference in treatment based on race, natural hair or hairstyles, ethnicity, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin or ancestry, marital or familial status, pregnancy, veteran status, religious belief or non-belief, age, or disability. You can read the resolution in its entirety here.

“Regardless of where one falls on this issue, it’s important we listen to each other no matter how much we disagree,” noted Commission Chair Brownie Newman. “I really support this and think it will make a difference in people’s lives.”

The ordinance will go into effect on July 1, giving the County time to continue research on reporting, enforcement, and ways to make the aforementioned processes transparent.

What does equity mean?
The Buncombe County Board of Commissioners defines equity as creating a culture where we illuminate disparities and ensure just and fair inclusion where all can participate and prosper. The Board of Commissioners, via its work on the 2025 Strategic Plan, define equity as systems, policies, and practices that support equity for all people, and an organizational culture that embraces diversity and inclusion.