Williams: Asheville, N.C. will give reparations to its Black residents. Could Richmond be next? – Richmond.com

17July 2020

While Richmond has grabbed headlines by falling Confederate monuments, Asheville, N.C., is taking an essential step in repairing Black lives.

Asheville, a picturesque bohemian city of 93,000 in the Great Smoky Mountains, is as progressive as any municipality in the South. But African Americans comprise less than 12% of its population.

Richmond is a city of more than 230,000 homeowners, nearly half of them Black. We were the capital of the Confederacy and the second-largest domestic slave market in the country. Our history strongly suggests we are every bit as much in requirement of repair as Asheville, if not more so.

The sins caused upon African Americans in Richmond’s previous haunt us today.

The race-related injuries of African Americans “translate into behaviors that drive incidents of violence that we’re seeing in our communities,” said Kim Young, a Richmond local and licensed medical social employee.

The news out of western North Carolina did not leave the notice of chosen authorities in Richmond.

“I would love to have a community discussion on it,” said Councilman Mike Jones.

In the meantime, Jones stated he will push city and state procurement departments to invest more with minority organisations. “After we talk about knees off of Black necks– we need to get knees off of Black budgets/purse strings,” he stated by means of text.

The Asheville initiative also caught the attention of Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney.

“The mayor asked his group the other day to examine the resolution from Asheville and what from it might be added to the ongoing work in Richmond,” Stoney spokesperson Jim Nolan stated Thursday.

But the idea of locally-based reparations is not without skeptics, including William A. Darity Jr., a teacher of economics and public policy at Duke University.

Darity, co-author with Kirsten Mullen of “From Here to Equality: Reparations for Black Americans,” stated in an email that municipalities and state governments lack the funds for an aspect of reparations he considers necessary: removing the Black-white wealth gap.

That would require $10 trillion to $12 trillion, he stated. “Their total spending plans in the existing year are roughly $3.1 trillion to fulfill all of their expenditures.”

In any occasion, Darity factors that the federal government “is the culpable party because it established or enabled the legal and authority framework that permitted racial oppression to pervade America. The federal government has obligation for meeting the debt.”

He’ll get no argument from me. However Congress is gridlocked; the president, hectic stiring racial grievance with each tweet, soundbite or executive action.

On the other hand, the Black Lives Matter movement is in full ascendancy. If not now for reparations, when?

Confederate monuments are toppling. We have actually experienced a lifetime’s worth of “I thought I ‘d never ever see” moments compressed first into the past dozen years, and then, the previous lots weeks. You can argue their strategies, but activists are agitating fiercely prior to the tide inevitably moves.

Or as Young states: “These times are highlighting all the possibilities.”

The platform also requires legislation at the federal and state level acknowledging the lasting effect of slavery and a strategy to address those impacts.

To my ears, a few of this sounds comparable to what the “defund cops” movement calls for: a reallocation of resources toward people-focused investments that would redress damage, improve lives and ameliorate criminal offense.

Reparations have been a nonstarter in Congress since then-U.S. Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., introduced the “Commission to Study and Advancement Reparation Propositions for African-Americans Act,” now called H.R. 40, in 1989.

Kristin Reed, a co-founder of the social justice group Richmond For All, questions if a localized reparations movement would harm a more extensive federal reparations effort by wearing down popular support.

“That said, there are some unbelievable models for reparations in really targeted locations like public education curriculum that I believe are fantastic examples of policies we must be pursuing locally,” she stated.

We’ve taken down signs, but that will not suggest much if we don’t build racial equity.

If we don’t invest to fix our nation’s wrongs, America will continue to decline.

Source: richmond.com
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