American News Jul 16, 2020 1:00 PM EST

Reparations approved in North Carolina

The Asheville City Council in North Carolina has unanimously voted to provide black residents and their descendants with reparations for slavery.

Reparations approved in North Carolina
Sam Edwards High Level, Alberta
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The Asheville City Council in North Carolina has unanimously voted to provide black residents and their descendants with reparations, according to USA Today.

The council voted 7-0 on July 14 and has apologized for the city’s role in slavery and discrimination.

Instead of mandating direct payments, the resolution is set to make investments in places where there are disparities among black residents.

"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, neighbourhood safety and fairness within criminal justice," reads the resolution.

The resolution asks Asheville to launch the Community Reparations Commission to make recommendations for programs and the way resources are used.

"Hundreds of years of Black blood spilled that basically fills the cup we drink from today," said Councilman Keith Young, an African American member of the body and also the measure's chief proponent.

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

Councilman Vijay Kapoor supported the measure and said that critics can look at data that shows disparities between black residents and other Asheville residents.

"We don't want to be held back by these gaps," Kapoor noted. "We want everyone to be successful."

Councilwoman Sheneika Smith said the council has received emails from people "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.

The public was given two hour-long periods to comment on the measure.

Rob Thomas, the Racial Justice Coalition community liaison, thanked the council.

"This is a really, really good gesture as far as the foundation of what we can build," Thomas said. "The potential of what can come out of this document is amazing."

He said that one of the main focuses of the measure should be to increase generational wealth that African Americans missed out on as a result of regulatory and economic discrimination.

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