Black AVL Demands

Here we are, in the midst of incredible revealing and revolution. Another world is possible. Words cannot hold what is happening. My gratitude for courageous Black leaders is infinite. My commitment to collective community care and liberation, never-ending.

Black leaders in Asheville, Saturday, June 6, 2020. Photo: @bigdamagedrewtv

Asheville readers, I just got an email from the organizers of Saturday’s incredible march and vigil. Here is the timely part of their message:

City Council is meeting on Tuesday, June 9, and a main topic is going to be the budget. It is vitally important that we reach out to them, as well as senior city staff, to let them know that we support the first demand put forward yesterday: to begin divesting from the Asheville Police Department and investing in Black communities(You can read all of the demands here.) You can find talking points and instructions (who to email and call) by going here. There is a special window of opportunity tomorrow to record a message for public comment. You can do that by following the directions here.

While I know many of you have already written Council about the police budget, we now have a specific and powerful demand from Black AVL (an intergenerational collective of Black leaders in Asheville) to support:

DIVEST – INVEST

We Demand a Divestment from the Police and Investment in Black Communities

50% of the APD’s budget should be invested in long-term safety strategies including supporting Black startups/business, eliminating the racial opportunity gap in Asheville City Schools, and funding an all-civilian oversight committee with the power to hold the APD and individual officers accountable.

[Note: I have updated my post from last week to reflect this demand.]

Be sure to visit blackavldemands.org to read the other demands to date and sign up for their email list – they will be sharing more in the coming weeks.

Here are a few more items of interest:

This moment,” from CoThinkk, with visionary words and tangible action steps. One of their calls is for the City of Asheville to have “a re-occurring line item for 15-20 million dollars annually in the budget and/or all proceeds from all tourism taxes allocated to racial equity, structural change, and addressing systemic racism across the community.”

Longterm, Self-Sufficiency in Asheville’s Black Community,” by Ashley Cooper. Excerpt: “Cultivating an economic floor for Black community is paramount to many leaders who are part of Black Men Uknighted, a group of entrepreneurs, business owners, pastors, non-profit leaders, social workers, and other Black men who are positively affecting the community. The mission is to be a voice and strategic partner that builds economics and leads change within the Black Community through investing, networking, educating, mentoring, and community involvement. Financing and supporting Black-owned businesses and spaces for Asheville’s Black community to congregate is essential.” Read Ashley’s piece to learn how to support this effort and for ideas of ways to implement resource redistribution.

Visit the Racial Justice Coalition’s website to sign up for their email list, and/or follow them on Instagram.

The Umoja Health, Wellness, and Justice Collective is still short of their GoFundMe goal of $7500, donate here to support their critical work.

Here’s a new video from DeWayne Barton of Hood Huggers:

Our solutions lie in true community care.

More soon, particularly for white folks newer to anti-racist action.

Peace and love.

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