Reparations on the cards in North Carolina's Asheville and Buncombe County after harm audit

Asheville, North Carolina - A final report of the Cease the Harm Audit has been released, bringing North Carolina's City of Asheville and Buncombe County one step closer to reparations for Black residents.

A newly released Cease the Harm Audit reveals the wide-ranging impacts of anti-Black discrimination in Asheville and Buncombe County, North Carolina.
A newly released Cease the Harm Audit reveals the wide-ranging impacts of anti-Black discrimination in Asheville and Buncombe County, North Carolina.  © IMAGO / Dreamstime

The report, carried out by the Carter Development Group and presented to the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners on Monday, outlines historic and ongoing harms to Black residents in seven main areas:

  • Criminal justice
  • Economic development
  • Education
  • Health and wellness
  • Housing
  • Equity and inclusion
  • Internal workforce

The study began in August 2023. As part of the analysis, a team of 12 experts examined government services, policies, and practices between July 1, 2020, and June 30, 2023.

Trump may be sued by E. Jean Carroll for a third time after Memorial Day rant
Donald Trump Trump may be sued by E. Jean Carroll for a third time after Memorial Day rant

The purpose was to take a comprehensive account of the ways Black communities continue to suffer due to government actions and to chart a path toward healing.

Cease the Harm Audit recommendations

Dwight Mullen (r.) and Dewana Little serve as chair and vice chair of Asheville's Community Reparations Commission.
Dwight Mullen (r.) and Dewana Little serve as chair and vice chair of Asheville's Community Reparations Commission.  © IMAGO / USA TODAY Network

The audit resulted in 108 recommendations for equity and redress and five high-priority inclusive community building proposals:

  • Designate legacy communities as historic districts in response to urban renewal
  • Increase Buncombe County's jurisdiction to improve school district funding
  • Create procurement industry and utilization dashboard
  • Develop a Black Chamber of Commerce
  • Conduct a Buncombe County disparity study

The Community Reparations Commission, established in March 2022, is expected to utilize the audit as they devise their final reparations recommendations for Buncombe County commissioners and Asheville city council members.

Trump vows to deport pro-Palestinian protesters: "Throw them out of the country"
Donald Trump Trump vows to deport pro-Palestinian protesters: "Throw them out of the country"

In July and August 2020, Asheville and Buncombe County each adopted a reparatory justice resolution. It was the second such measure adopted by a US city – after Evanston, Illinois – and the first by a county.

The commission is tasked with crafting a plan to make amends for local and county government complicity in anti-Black discrimination from the era of enslavement through the present day.

Cover photo: IMAGO / Dreamstime

More on Reparations: