County leaders say establishing the holiday, which commemorates the 1865 announcement of the Emancipation Proclamation by Union soldiers to enslaved people in Texas, is supported by the county’s Equity and Inclusion Workgroup and would “represent an authentic and more inclusive history of freedom in America.”
“Families of color have unfairly limited elementary school options for their children because the district is mandated to maintain antiquated racial quotas that were put into place 30 years ago,” writes Asheville City Schools Superintendent Gene Freeman.
Kimberlee Archie, the city’s first equity and inclusion manager, and Libby Kyles, CEO of the YWCA of Asheville, have left high-profile jobs with a mission of improving racial equity in the city within a month of each other.
“We desperately need to learn from and listen to each other without seeking to impose our own views, not only within our own communities but in a spirit of outreach between our countries.”
“Are there educators who think that kids can learn despite their backgrounds and the effects of outside-the-school influences? If so, let’s hire them, starting at the superintendent level.”
As of late January, Equity and Inclusion Manager Kimberlee Archie’s office is fully staffed. Its four employees are together charged with advancing equity, which the city defines as “just and fair inclusion into a society in which all can participate, prosper and reach their full potential,” and promoting inclusion, defined as “authentic and empowered participation with a true sense of belonging.”
‘The Deepness of Blue’ signals intentionality. Though the chorus has several members of color, ACS has invited singers from other local choruses and African American musicians, including soloists and a pianist, to participate.
In her experience, says Leslie Council Lake, the leaders of predominantly white organizations too often address diversity with the best of intentions but insufficient knowledge. To address that frustrating dynamic, she and her husband Kenyon Lake are organizing the Reality Check Conference, which will be held on Friday, June 29, at A-B Tech.
The mayor of Asheville announced the departure of City Manager Gary Jackson at a City Council meeting that also addressed the city’s effort to create a commission focused on racial equity and its opposition to an NCDOT plan to widen Merrimon Avenue.
Kimberlee Archie came on board city staff as Asheville’s first equity and inclusion manager last July. In honor of Martin Luther King Day, Xpress asked Archie to share her thoughts on King’s legacy and how it applies to the continuing effort to create equity in Asheville.
While Asheville thrives on a diverse spiritual life, shifting demographics and evolving notions of religion’s role in daily life have many historic congregations reconsidering the part they play in local culture — and how best to address a changing community’s concerns.
State data show that the gap in academic achievement between white and black students in the Asheville City Schools is the largest in North Carolina. The district is launching a new initiative to address the persistent problem — but only time will tell whether this effort will succeed where so many have failed to show results.