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Reparations Update: Commission Issues Audit Bid, Moves Forward with Focus Areas, & More

a photo of the Asheville skyline at night with the reparations logo

The Community Reparations Commission continues to make progress on the historical and ambitious goals of identifying short- and long-term priorities and plans. During its meeting on April 18, the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners received a quarterly update on the Reparations Commission’s work. The most recent development is moving forward with a Stop the Harm Audit that will have a third-party firm ensure the County is in compliance with all federal and state laws and other regulations with a concentration on potential issues in education, health care, housing, economic development, and justice. The Reparations Commission has issued a request for bids, which are due by June 15. 

In the meantime, work continues on the Impact Focus Areas (IFAs) as Commission members identify harm, evaluate data, and create recommendations for these critical categories that have been intentional identified as: 

  • Criminal Justice 
  • Economic Development 
  • Education 
  • Health & Wellness 
  • Housing 

To help refine recommendations for the IFAs, workgroups are getting additional research help through the County’s Special Collections, soliciting community feedback, and using other methods to finalize the best paths going forward for these impact areas. 

Communications and engagement 

Another key component of the Reparations Commission’s work is the continued and bolstered communications and public engagement surrounding its work. Helping with this effort is the Artéria Collective, a local nonprofit helping to document the reparations process. Additionally, the Reparations Commission is utilizing festivals, community meetings, and other collaborative gatherings to help inform the community about its work. 

Next steps 

The Reparations Commission is in the process of planning a community summit to present information and gather additional feedback. The IFA workgroups are set to have updated recommendations in the next few months. Ultimately, County Manager Avril Pinder says she’s pleased with the progress of the commission, noting the historical importance of this process: “A major step was having the Commissioners unanimously approve a resolution declaring racism as a public health and safety crisis and joining the City in approving the resolution for reparations. Building off that, we know we need to invest in certain areas such as health, education, economics, and the criminal justice system where people of color have traditionally been disenfranchised and at a disadvantage to create generational wealth.”

Commissioners did not take any action regarding the Community Reparations Commission, and you can view the entire presentation here

Stay informed 

The Community Reparations Commission’s next meeting is slated for April 24 from 6-8 p.m. For previous meeting notes, up-to-date news, live streams of meetings, and more about the Reparations Commission’s work, click here. To sign up for updates from the City of Asheville, click here.

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Updated Apr 21, 2023 03:17 PM
Published Apr 18, 2023 06:00 PM

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