In alignment with our mission to eliminate racism, empower women and promote peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all people, we fully support the Racial Justice Coalition’s Reparations are Due pledge campaign.
The history of the YWCA of Asheville is deeply connected to the Southside neighborhood, one of the historically Black neighborhoods in the city. The Phyllis Wheatley YWCA – the Black branch of the YW – broke ground at our current home at 185 S. French Broad in 1962. In 1971, the white YWCA, located on Grove St. in Asheville, closed and merged with the Wheatley YWCA in the building we still occupy.
The Southside neighborhood was one of the areas affected by urban renewal policies that displaced thousands of Black residents, destroyed neighborhoods and disrupted communities. We strongly support reparations for our neighborhood, and all parts of the community fragmented or destroyed by inherently racist practices.
In 2020, both the City of Asheville and Buncombe County acknowledged the hundreds of years of harm they have caused, or allowed to happen to, the Black community. Our local Community Reparations Commission (CRC) has taken up the challenge of defining how the City and County should make amends for these harms. In 2022, the Racial Justice Coalition (RJC) launched the Reparations are Due campaign to demonstrate the depth and breadth of multiracial community support for the Reparations process.
Hundreds of years of slavery followed by decades of Black codes, Jim Crow segregation, redlining, and predatory lending and disproportionate rates of incarceration left the Black community with limited capacity to build wealth. The racism embedded in these laws, practices, and regulations is at the root of the need for reparations. The racism that infused the desegregation process laid the foundation for deeper racial disparities that continue to affect the community.
Ready to Learn More?
The CRC, made up of twenty-five Black community members, is developing a slate of recommendations that they will eventually send to the Asheville City Council and the Buncombe County Commission. Join us for a Reparations Information session on Wednesday July 26th from 5:30-7pm in the YWCA’s multipurpose room to learn more about this groundbreaking and historic process and how you can support it. To RSVP for this FREE event, click here.
Take Action: Sign the Pledge
Now is the time to let the CRC and our local government leaders know that this community supports deep and meaningful Reparations. We invite you to check out the Pledge today, and to share it with others. You can read more about the Pledge, the Reparations Are Due campaign, and learn much more about the case for local Reparations here.