Shifts are happening. There is movement. Opportunities for action. We are all a part of this. Energy towards equity. Eyes and ears on inclusion. Hearts open to healing. Standing for justice. Today’s post includes some relevant stories and events. Thanks for tuning in.

What Could We Do With A Million Dollars?
Recently, Asheville Police Chief Tammy Hooper placed a budget request for one million dollars to hire 15 additional police officers to patrol downtown. The Asheville Blade did an outstanding job reporting on this issue (with great first person quotes of related community perspectives), I encourage you to read their piece: Season of discontent. At this moment, the $1M for more police is in the city budget, though it is not too late to move the funds to another line item. This is an excerpt of the email that I sent to City Council expressing my opposition:

“Hiring more police officers is not an effective strategy for creating more genuine safety in our community. Instead, I support the City of Asheville increasing investment in grassroots community programs that uplift our neighbors. Our focus needs to be on undoing the impacts of centuries of systemic oppression. We need to work harder to address and heal the root our problems, rather than just dealing with the symptoms.

Expanding the police department is not in line with Council’s stated commitment to equity. There are documented racial disparities in law enforcement in Asheville which must be addressed before even considering increasing the number of officers. Instead of hiring new officers, funds need to be flagged for racial equity and related trainings, department reform, and improved screening of applicants.”

City Council candidate Kim Roney (who I fully endorse) released this statement about the proposed million dollars for the police: Thoughts on Asheville’s Budget Process and Prioritization.

You can email council with your opinion at AshevilleNCCouncil@ashevillenc.gov.