In a historic move, the Asheville City Council has apologized for the North Carolina city’s historic role in slavery, discrimination and denial of basic liberties to Black residents and voted to provide reparations to them and their descendants.
The 7-0 vote came the night of July 14. Asheville, which is 83% White and 12% Black, The resolution, which passed in a 7-0 city council vote, does not mandate direct cash payments to descendants of slaves, or 40 acres and a mule. Instead, the city plans to make investments in areas where Black residents face disparities. The resolution calls for “forming policy and programs that will establish the creation of generational wealth and address reparations due in the black community,” as well as asking the state legislature and federal government to do the same.
Republicans have been vocal critics. Last year, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he opposed the idea, arguing “none of us currently living are responsible” for what he called America’s “original sin.”Some at the meeting said Asheville is not going far enough because it fails to specify how reparations could be achieved. Council member Sheneika Smith acknowledged a need for more specifics, saying, “We need to bring a red pen to the table to actually circle expenditures and really show how they related to the stated goals. “Resident David Greenson, who identified himself as White, indicated his support. “White people: We have to realize that we are complicit, and our souls are in jeopardy,” he said.”This is not for the faint of heart to try to work on,” Mayor Esther Manheimer said, referring to other negative responses the council had received by email.
Source: CNN’s Andy Rose contributed to this report.