Equity and Inclusion


The recently established Office of Equity & Inclusion was created to intentionally advance equity and inclusion in Asheville with racial and social equity as top priorities.

As part of city government, the Office of Equity & Inclusion plays a unique role toward maximizing the access and opportunities that all people have to satisfy essential needs, advance their well-being and achieve their full potential. The Equity & Inclusion Director plays a key role in moving the city organization toward successful advancement of equity with Asheville through understanding, analyzing and eliminating the root causes of racial disparities, and advancing equitable policies, practices and procedures.

To advance equity and inclusion within municipal government, the Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE) racial equity framework is being employed. The city of Asheville is a member of GARE, a national network of government jurisdictions working to achieve racial equity and advance opportunities for all, which has developed a framework based on best practice from government entities who have been working to advance racial equity for a decade or longer. Creating an environment where a shared language and understanding of racism, implicit and explicit bias and government’s role in advancing equity is one component of the racial equity framework. Another component is creating creating equity tools; such as an equity action plan, which maps out a plan for transformational institutional change.

The newly established Human Relations Commission of Asheville (HRCA) shares the values of equity and inclusion. As an advisory body to Asheville City Council, the HRCA prioritizes racial equity as it seeks to improve human relations in Asheville. Learn about the work of the Human Relations Commission of Asheville.


What is the difference between Equity and Equality?

Equality is about sameness; it is works when conditions are the same for everyone and everyone starts from the same place.

To operate with equity means there is first an understanding that everyone does not begin from the same place. Conditions, access, and opportunities differ; therefore, what is just and fair looks different based on conditions, access and opportunities. Equity looks at outcomes.

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Equity is just and fair inclusion into a society in which all can participate, prosper, and reach their full potential (excerpt from Equity Manifesto

Racial equity is the condition when racial identity no longer predicts individual or group life outcomes, and outcomes for all groups are improved.

Advancing racial equity employs analysis and strategies at the root cause of inequities and disparities; working to address disparities through changes in policy, practice and procedure. (working draft)

Inclusion is authentic and empowered participation with a true sense of belonging. 

Inclusive engagement of Asheville’s residents is demonstrated through meeting community where they are and working collaboratively to ensure their voices are valued.

Upcoming Events

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Racial Equity Institute Phase I Training

Moving the focus from individual bigotry and bias, the REI Phase 1 workshop presents a historical, cultural, structural and institutional analysis. REI believes that organizations often work for equity with multiple understandings of racism that rely more on personal feelings and popular opinion.

Dates available:

Friday-Saturday, March 29-30, 2019
Saturday-Sunday, May 18-19, 2019
Friday-Saturday, July 19-20, 2019
Friday-Saturday, September 20-21, 2019
Friday-Saturday, November 8-9, 2019

Registration not yet open.

Contact contactavlrei@gmail.com for more information or to be notified when registration opens.

Contact Information

Kimberlee ArchieKimberlee Archie, Director of Equity and Inclusion




Yashika Smith, Inclusive Engagement & Leadership Manager