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Buncombe Takes Another Step Toward Bolstering Inclusion, Approves Racial Equity Action Plan

Building off Buncombe County’s declaration of racism as a public health crisis and the 2025 Strategic Plan’s core value of equity, Commissioners unanimously approved a Racial Equity Action Plan during their meeting on June 15. This initiative serves as our next step toward the intentional building of more community resiliency by creating timelines and performance measures.

The Racial Equity Action Plan was developed by the County’s Equity and Inclusion Workgroup, and is the culmination of 16 months of research, planning, and feedback from Commissioners, community members, and County employees to help ensure it is inclusive and reflective of Buncombe County. The Racial Equity Action Plan utilizes community and foundational goals that will be supported by specific initiatives.

Community goals:

  • Create pathways to ensure engagement in racial equity strategies and improve quality of life.
  • Provide racial equity education and communication to the community.
  • Improving quality-of-life outcomes through racial equity initiatives.

Foundational goals:

  • Cultivate a thriving workforce within Buncombe County that ensures racial equity.
  • Institute organizational policies and processes to ensure equity and accountability.
  • Establish Buncombe County as an equity inclusion model.

“The crisis of the [COVID-19] pandemic intersected with the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless other BIPOC people, and the need for a Buncombe County Racial Equity Action Plan only grew. With hate crimes on the rise against members of our Asian community, the need for action is immediate,” noted Commission Chair Brownie Newman in the plan’s introduction. “The work outlined in this plan is long overdue. We recognize that the land Buncombe County sits on is originally the homeland of the Cherokee as well as the Yuchi, and it is our County’s responsibility to ensure the atrocities of the past have no place in our future.”

Some of the next steps for the Racial Equity Action Plan include creating a community engagement plan, defining progress reporting mechanisms, and creating countywide equity training curriculum. The plan and website will officially go live on July 1. You can read a draft of the plan here, and a Spanish version here.