A North Carolina city has made history by voting to approve reparations for all of their Black residents and their descendants.
The unanimous 7-0 vote came in on Tuesday (July 14). According to USA Today, the Asheville City Council issued an apology for the city’s role in slavery, discrimination and denial of basic freedoms to their Black residents.
“Hundreds of years of Black blood spilled that basically fills the cup we drink from today,” said Councilman Keith Young. “It is simply not enough to remove statutes. Black people in this country are dealing with issues that are systemic in nature.”
The newly passed resolution will not distribute monetary funds to the Black residents. Instead, investments will be made into the areas of the city where Black people face disparities.
“The resulting budgetary and programmatic priorities may include but not be limited to increasing minority home ownership and access to other affordable housing, increasing minority business ownership and career opportunities, strategies to grow equity and generational wealth, closing the gaps in health care, education, employment and pay, neighborhood safety and fairness within criminal justice,” the resolution stated.
People have sent emails to the council asking, “Why should we pay for what happened during slavery?”
“[Slavery] is this institution that serves as the starting point for the building of the strong economic floor for white America, while attempting to keep Blacks subordinate forever to its progress,” said Councilwoman Sheneika Smith.
Rob Thomas, community partner for the Racial Justice Coalition, thanked the council for the historic ruling. “This is a really, really good gesture as far as the foundation of what we can build,” he said. ”The potential of what can come out of this document is amazing.”
“Increasing generational wealth — something African Americans were deprived of through economic and regulatory discrimination — should be the focus,” he continued.