Letter: School site could be repurposed for reparations

Graphic by Lori Deaton

A recent Mountain Xpress newsletter asked readers to comment on what to do with the former Asheville Primary School site in West Asheville [County Reviews Preliminary Plans for Former Asheville Primary School,” May 15, Xpress]. The newsletter story that followed that request was about the recommendations coming out of the Community Reparations Commission of Asheville and Buncombe County in recent weeks [“Racial Reckoning: Reparations Commission Continues Flurry of Recommendations as Deadline Looms,” May 22, Xpress].

It seems obvious to me that these two stories are related. Two of the commission’s recommendations are for establishing an education-focused community resource center on land taken by the city during urban renewal and to provide universal early childhood education for Black students. Why not locate a resource center and an early childhood education center for Black students there, at 441 Haywood Road?

And while we’re thinking innovatively, why not also include a health center on the 4.77-acre property, where families of children at the early education center and families using the resource center can have their children receive medical and dental health services? I have often wondered why school facilities do not routinely also include space for those services, since school buildings are where children are for many hours and days of their lives.

Lastly, on a separate but related topic, the question of the legality of targeting programs for African Americans should have been resolved before now. If reparations are for the harms done by enslavement and by the Jim Crow policies and laws that permeated the South and beyond, then, of course, reparations will target African Americans.

— Cathy Scott


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