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Posts published in “Reparations”

Advocates: Youth Need More Say in Reparations

 ‘Let Your Voices Be Heard'

Tyler Lewis, 18, says he's tired of talking about reparations. "Let's start making things happen." // Credit: Starr Sariego, Asheville Watchdog

By SCOTT CARROLL, Asheville Watchdog 

Cultural malnutrition.

That’s the phrase Asheville native and longtime resident Priscilla Ndiaye Robinson has coined to describe the disconnect many in the Black community, especially young people, have about their history and culture. In Robinson’s mind, knowledge is power, especially now as a historic Community Reparations Commission works to atone for the government’s role in denying Blacks wealth-building opportunities.

“There is a lack of knowledge of relevant local history,” Robinson said. “Our youth need to learn that history.”

Perhaps no group could be more impacted by the work of the Reparations Commission than Asheville’s Black children and young adults. But a lack of participation by youths is emerging as one of the early challenges to the reparations process. 

The 25-member Reparations Commission is decidedly older — 


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In their own words: Members of Reparations Commission describe systemic racism in Asheville

City was "not built to provide equality,” one writes

Reparations: Cut The Check mural at 508 Haywood Road // photo by Peter Lewis for Asheville Watchdog

They range from Asheville natives to relative newcomers. Their backgrounds include a broad array of vocations, including educators, nurses, entrepreneurs, and community leaders.

All of them are Black, and nearly all say they have encountered various forms of racism in their lives. They are members of the Asheville/Buncombe County Community Reparations Commission, and to a person each said they are committed to providing reparations to right the wrongs and address the residue of centuries of discrimination against the Black community of Asheville — discrimination that they say continues to this day.

“I’ve lived in other cities and Asheville by far suffers from the most racism,” Aleesha Ballard wrote in her application to be a member of the Commission.

Aleesha Ballard // photo courtesy The Urban News

“I have three children currently attending Asheville city schools and the education system is not only failing our children academically,


2 Years in Making, California Reparations Report Offers Ideas For Asheville-Buncombe Commission

Two years ago, as violent protests shook Asheville and other cities after George Floyd was murdered while in Minneapolis police custody, the Asheville City Council and the Buncombe County Commission passed resolutions in support of reparations for Black residents, to make amends for historic discrimination. Acting at the same time, California established a task force to study and develop a plan for reparations in that state.

Last week, the task force overseeing California’s reparations effort released the first part of its work: a landmark 500-page report documenting nearly two centuries of systemic discrimination imposed by the state, the harm it caused, and what needs to be done to attempt to address that harm. 

The California report arrives just before the Asheville and Buncombe Community Reparations Commission will meet for just the third time. The meeting is scheduled for Monday from 6 p.m.


An Open Letter to the Asheville Community

Hello, my name is Scott Carroll and today — June 1, 2022 — is my first official day as a reporter for The Asheville Watchdog. I would like to take this occasion to introduce myself, explain my role here, and ask for your help moving forward.

My primary focus will be covering the reparations process here, which was approved by the Asheville City Council and the Buncombe County Commission two years ago. In addition to covering reparations, I will be writing about homelessness and related social justice issues.

Photo of Asheville Watchdog reporter Scott Carroll
Scott Carroll

I am the first paid staff reporter for The Watchdog, a nonprofit online news organization that was launched in 2020 and continues to be run by volunteer, award-winning journalists and media executives who live in Asheville and care deeply about the community.