Asheville, North Carolina’s city council voted 7-0 this week to make reparations for slavery available to its Black residents.
The historic vote Tuesday night came with a public apology for the city’s participation in enslaving Africans and their descendants, as well as its role in enforcing segregation and urban renewal “that destroyed multiple successful Black communities,” according to its resolution.
“Hundreds of years of Black blood spilled that basically fills the cup we drink from today,” said Councilman Keith Young, the primary advocate for the measure and one of two Blacks on the council. “It is simply not enough to remove statues. Black people in this country are dealing with issues that are systemic in nature.”
Although the measure will not provide reparations in the form of a direct payment, it will make investments in Black communities where residents face a number of structural barriers to health care, education, safety and prosperity.