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Asheville, North Carolina backs reparations in historic vote: "It is simply not enough to remove statues"

Asheville city council approves reparations
Reparations approved by city council of Asheville, North Carolina 09:46

Officials in the North Carolina city of Asheville have apologized for its historic role in slavery and discrimination and voted to provide reparations. The Asheville Citizen-Times reports that unanimous vote was taken by the City Council on Tuesday.

The resolution on reparations does not require direct payments but will mandate investments in areas where Black residents face disparities. The Citizen-Times reported the vote came just days after the county's health board declared racism a public health crisis and last month, thousands of protesters called for the Asheville Police Department to be defunded. 

Virus Outbreak Black Health
In this June 5, 2020 photo provided by the Mountain Area Health Education Center, physicians, residents and staff from the facility in Asheville, N.C., take a knee to show support for renewed calls for racial justice after the police killing of George Floyd. Brenda Benik / AP

"Hundreds of years of black blood spilled that basically fills the cup we drink from today," said Councilman Keith Young, one of two Black council members and the measure's chief proponent.

"It is simply not enough to remove statues. Black people in this country are dealing with issues that are systemic in nature," Young said.

Priorities could include efforts to increase minority home ownership, access to affordable housing and minority business ownership. The resolution also mentions strategies to close the gaps in health care, education and pay.

The resolution calls for the creation of a Community Reparations Commission to recommend programs and resources to be used.

Last year, a  House Judiciary subcommittee debated a bill that would study how the U.S. would implement reparations to Black Americans. 

During the hearing, Sen. Cory Booker said that the nation has "yet to truly acknowledge and grapple with the racism and white supremacy that tainted this country's founding and continues to cause persistent and deep racial disparities and inequality. These disparities don't just harm Black communities, they harm all communities."

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