The Asheville City Council voted 7-0 on a resolution Tuesday night that formally apologized to its Black residents for the city’s role in slavery, discriminatory housing practices, and other racist policies throughout its history.
The measure also calls for a plan to provide reparations to its Black residents in the form of investments in their community such as “increasing minority home ownership,” “increasing minority business ownership and career opportunities,” and “strategies to grow equity and generational wealth,” according to the resolution.
The resolution, which was signed by Mayor Esther Manheimer, calls for the creation of a Community Reparations Commission that will be made up of businesses, local groups and elected officials. The commission will issue detailed recommendations, with plans to implement the reparations in the short and long term. The resolution does not mandate direct payments. Instead, it will make investments in areas where Black residents face disparities.
Asheville has a population of 92,870, 83% of which is white, according to the U.S. Census. Minorities own roughly 9.7% of the town’s 12,785 businesses, according to Census data.
The council’s resolution also calls on the state and federal governments to come up with their own reparation policies.