East Coast City Approves Reparations for Systemic Racism in Unanimous Vote

After the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police, America has been engrossed by a heavy debate regarding systemic racism and institutional inequality.  Our young people have taken to the streets to protest, and our lawmakers are attempting to make compromised strides toward the loftier ideals of our founding fathers.

As with any racial debate in our country, the idea of reparations has been conjured again and again in this discussion, prompting a heated debate about exactly what such an economic maneuver would look like.

In Asheville, North Carolina, they are about to find out.

North Carolina’s Asheville City Council apologized for its role in slavery and racial discrimination, voting unanimously to provide reparations in the form of community investments to help Black residents.

The council voted 7-0 on Tuesday night on the measure to mitigate racial disparities. The reparations will not provide direct cash payments, as some have suggested, but will provide investments in housing, health care and career growth in Black neighborhoods.

Councilwoman Shaneika Smith, who is Black, said the council had gotten emails from those “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 Smith, as reported by the Asheville Citizen Times.

So, what exactly will these reparations provide?

“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 reads.

One can only imagine that other cities and counties around the nation will be keeping an eye on the developments out of Asheville as they, too, consider the possibility of reparations.