During the October 12 City Council meeting, Debra Clark Jones, President of TEQuity, the selected project management firm, outlined next steps in the City of Asheville’s Reparations initiative. Information was shared during the City Manager’s Report to Council.
During their September 14 meeting, City Council voted to authorize the City Manager to hire TEQuity to provide project management services as Reparations Process Project Manager, following an official procurement process. TEQuity has worked on several equity projects in the region, including the City of Asheville’s Disparity Study, serving as the community engagement lead.
The TEQuity project team will provide project management, facilitation, research infrastructure, resource affiliation, and community engagement support once the Community Reparations Commission is formed. The TEQuity project team will include not only a project manager and assistant manager, but also liaisons for the Commission that will help provide facilitation and content resources. With the consulting team on board, the focus will now turn to seating the 25-member Community Reparations Commission. The Commission will consist of 13 neighborhood representatives and 12 impact area technical experts.
The technical experts appointed to the Commission will be chosen jointly by the City and Buncombe County in the impact areas that were identified in the Reparations Resolution based on experience and expertise in criminal justice, economic development, education, health care and housing.
Applications for the commission will open October 18. Thirteen commission members will be nominated by persons from historically impacted neighborhoods. Nominations and applications will be accepted through November 15. Information about how to apply or nominate someone will be posted on the Reparations webpage at https://www.publicinput.com/avlreparations or the City Boards & Commission webpage at https://www.ashevillenc.gov/department/city-clerk/boards-and-commissions.
Once the Reparations Commission is in place and has received orientation, a timeline for community engagement will be developed. For more information on the reparations process, please visit https://www.publicinput.com/avlreparations.
For a copy of the report to Council, visit this link.
On July 14, 2020, Asheville City Council unanimously passed a Resolution supporting community reparations for Black Asheville. The resolution acknowledges systemic racism present in the community, as well as nationally. The resolution directs the City Manager to establish a process to develop short-, medium-, and long-term recommendations to specifically address the creation of generational wealth and to boost economic mobility and opportunity in the Black community.
At their June 8, 2021, meeting, Asheville City Council voted to appropriate $2.1 million in proceeds from the sale of City-owned land at 172 and 174 South Charlotte Street to fund the community reparations process through the project management phase with the Community Reparations Commission’s planning and community engagement process, leaving approximately $1.9 million in initial funding that will assist with the costs of the Reparations process. This process will provide recommendations and a final report in late spring 2023. Additional funding for Reparations will be reviewed throughout this 19-month process as short-, medium- and long-term recommendations are provided by the Community Reparations Commission to Asheville City Council for consideration.