What do we want to flourish in our community?

As my long-time readers know, my critiques of institutions are always balanced (or perhaps outweighed) by writing about the transformative work being done daily in our community. Below is some of what I’m rooting for at the moment, in absolutely no particular order. May abundant resources flow to every one of the groups working towards these visions.

What do we want?

Cooperatively-owned businesses and real estate. Firestorm Books, Poder Emma, ABIPA’s Every Day Details, Power in Numbers/Poder en Numeros, and Cenzoltle Language Justice Cooperative come to mind. I am optimistic about the Asheville-Buncombe Community Land Trust (though I also believe that the City of Asheville owes the Black community way more than is currently on the table here or anywhere).

Education equity, as named by City Council candidate Nicole Townsend in her platform, “We can heal deep systemic divides in our education system, mentor our youth, and end the school-to-prison pipeline.” Visit the “Community” page on this site for a list of youth programs to support. [Nicoles’s campaign kick off is Dec. 3, rsvp here.]

Fare-free regional transit network, as named by City Council candidate Kim Roney in her platform, and advocated for by Just Economics and others.

Immigrant rights. CIMA – Compañeros Inmigrantes de las Montañas en Acción has been a leader on this for years. The WNC Sanctuary Movement also is engaged.

Deeply affordable housing, as Kim puts in her platform, “through cooperative & creative solutions!” ABCLT, Poder Emma, and Beloved Village.

Living wage. On the way to a complete shift to a cooperative economy, let’s be sure people are paid at least a living wage. Just Economics leads the charge locally.

Language justice, as promoted by Center for Participatory Change (CPC), Cenzotle, and others, and beautifully implemented by Word on the Street/La Voz de Los Jovenes.

Community media. Asheville Blade, JMPRO TV, The Urban News, WRES 100.7 FM, Asheville 103.3 FM…I’m gonna throw this website in the mix, too.

Environmental justice, another part of Nicole’s platform, “We can achieve environmental justice for frontline communities to meet basic survival needs––nourishing and accessible food, affordable and sustainable housing, clean air to breathe, and water to drink.” I’ll point to Sunrise Asheville, and the call for an Urban Forester.

Urban gardens and farms. Southside Community Gardens, Patchwork Urban Farms, Burton Street Community Peace Gardens, Elder and Sage Community Gardens…

Cultural justice. A community where the cultural ecosystem provides space and support for diverse voices and expression. Too many to list. Visit the Community page for a start.

Prison abolition. Creating alternatives to incarceration and closing all prisons and jails. In the meantime, let’s end money bail. I follow Southerners on New Ground (SONG).

Public safety, the third pillar of Nicole’s platform. Related to everything on this page, she says, “We can transform public safety by investing in neighborhoods to create economic mobility, decriminalize poverty, stand up to white supremacy, and keep families together.”

This list is, of course, far from comprehensive, I know I’ll think of more to add as soon as I hit publish. It was extremely satisfying to write.

What a joy it is to be a part of a community committed to the collective good.

Sending love to all, we are connected whether or not we agree.

[The flower photos in this post were taken in my garden this past summer, and remind me to notice and treasure the ephemeral beauty woven into everything.]


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