Letter: Reparations Commission deserves more time to do its work

Graphic by Lori Deaton

The Community Reparations Commission needs an extension of support from Asheville and Buncombe County. So far, the commission has been told by staff that resources from the government to support the process will cease at the end of June.

Yet there is still significant work in front of the commission, including digesting the recent 168-page Cease the Harm Audit and performing public engagement so that the Black community at large understands what the Reparations Commission is doing and can provide feedback.

I have attended recent Reparations Commission meetings, and at every single meeting I have witnessed commissioners asking for more time so that they can get this vital work completed without having to rush the results.

The Reparations Commission should be given the opportunity by the city and county to complete this work on a timeline set by the commission itself, not by city/county staff, who wrote unsigned letters telling the commission they would be cut off from support in June.

A solid step toward reducing harm is to put more power and resources in the hands of the Reparations Commission. The city and county should extend the timeline of support so that the commission can do its work. The government should be doing all it can to support the commission in crafting recommendations to repair harm from the centuries of damage done by our government and society to Black people.

— Jensen Gelfond


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