Boards, Beer, and More

There is ample liberating work to do, and many righteous ways to do it. 

Love leads us to our lane.

There is so much I want to write about, and will, thanks to all of you who are subscribing, I am grateful to be on this journey with you. Today I am going to share some food for thought, articles that have caught my eye recently (click the titles to read them). Plus an opportunity for you to support some local youth.

Behind the BoardsAsheville Blade
This article compiles important, troubling, but not surprising data about the City of Asheville’s boards and commissions. “Of the 155 positions, 15 are occupied by African-Americans, and three of those are appointments to the city and county’s joint African-American Heritage Commission. Fifty-four of the positions — just over a third — are occupied by women, though they comprise 54 percent of the city’s population.” I would also be interested in knowing the socio-economic status of these folks as well. It’s past time to raise a stink about this fact that the folks making decisions for the city do not fully represent the people who live here. It will take intentionality and effort to change this. Barriers related to board and commission meeting times, childcare, transportation, how applicants are recruited, etc, need to be addressed.

There are almost no black people brewing craft beer. Here’s why Thrillist
This article caught my attention since Asheville is currently overrun with craft brewing. It has become a significant industry here. As we look at Asheville culture and issues of inclusion and equity, the overwhelming whiteness of this field is a concern. This article looks at various angles on this topic, including “There is an ugly history of racism in beer…No single moment in American history has had more impact on the beer business than Prohibition. As it turns out, the 18th Amendment carried some grim racial undertones.” What is the legacy of the roots of this business? How is craft beer is impacting Asheville’s culture? Who does it attract here? Who does it employ? How does it influence our collective vibrations? How could it look differently? I will mention that the owners of  Habitat Brewing, which will be opening soon, have been having discussions about equity and inclusion and have a commitment to being a part of possible positive shifts in this area. Cheers to that.

The racist history of Portland, the whitest city in AmericaThe Atlantic
Portland is a city that Asheville is often compared to. It’s also known for craft beer, “progressive” people, etc. This article sadly reflects other things we have in common, particularly how African American communities have been systemically marginalized.

Imarisha says she is often the only black person in Portland establishments. (Alana Semuels/The Atlantic)

How can we end the cycle of racist violence?CNN
This article outlines important history and offers insights into the current frightening state of our criminal justice system and how it must change. Definitely worth reading.

Policing is a dirty job, but nobody’s got to do it: 6 ideas for a cop-free worldRolling Stone
Ready to completely dismantle enormous fundamentally flawed systems? Sometimes even thinking of alternatives to what we’ve always known can be a challenge. The sub-heading of this article is, “It’s time to start imagining a society that isn’t dominated by police.” I appreciate the possibilities laid out in this article.

Support STARS!
The Christine W. Avery Learning Center STARS “is a summer program for youth ages 12 to 16 that provides academic enrichment, social development, cultural enrichment, and civic engagement through STEAM based activities and community service.” STARS is traveling to Washington, D.C. from July 28 – 30, and they are raising money for the trip. STARS is led by my dear friend Angel Redmond, who I hold in high regard. The director of the Christine R. Avery Learning Center is also a friend of mine that I truly respect, CiCi Weston. “It is our hope that your monetary assistance eases the cost we place on our parents to make this vision come to fruition.” Click here to find out more about the program and the trip and to make a donation!