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Refugee resettlement in Asheville?
Thursday, 04 August 2016 11:29

From Staff Reports

Western North Carolina is being considered as a resettlement site for refugees by the International Rescue Committee, a global aid and humanitarian organization.

IRC representatives met on June 29 with local residents at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Asheville to discuss the feasibility of relocating about 150 people fleeing persecution in their home countries to the Asheville region.

If plans move forward, the first household could arrive as early as next spring, J.D. McCrary, executive director of the IRC office in Atlanta, told the gathering of more than 50 people. Other refugees would then arrive over the ensuing 12 months, he said.

The majority of refugees now being resettled domestically are Congolese, Bhutanese, Burmese, Afgani and Iraqi, although there are likely to be more Syrians in the near future, McCrary said.

In response, an Asheville Tea Party newsletter dated July 8 contended that the IRC “is salivating to place at least 150 Syrian refugees in our community.” The ATP later held a meeting to discuss member concerns and to involve them “to stop refugee placement in our area.”

The ATP noted that “if we get an Office of Refugee Resettlement within 50 miles of our (Asheville) community, contractors, like churches and non-profits, can begin the process” of resettlement. 

“Asheville is the target for such an office. This is where we are!” The ATP also called the program “expensive, secretive, risky and unfair.” 

Conversely, McCary said at the June 29  meeting that any refugee resettlement in the Asheville area would likely follow national trends, meaning Syrians would not predominate.

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7 white protesters arrested during Black Lives Matter’s sit-in inside APD
Thursday, 04 August 2016 11:27

From Staff Reports

Asheville police arrested and handcuffed seven protesters — all of whom were white — who refused to abandon a sit-in for Black Lives Matter at the Asheville Police Department downtown on July 22 afternoon.

In the aftermath, a racial justice group made up of nonprofits, advocacy groups and other entities will help set city police use-of-force policies, Mayor Esther Manhaimer and City Councilman Cecil Bothwell, chair of council’s Public Safety Committee, said in an unscheduled announcement at the end of council’s July 26 meeting.

The announcement was made after several citizens spoke during the meeting’s public comment session, including some involved with the local Black Lives Matter movement, who contended that race relations need improvement in Asheville, particularly with policing.

“We as a council are struggling,” Manheimer said. “We hear the community. We want to be responsive. We want to be thoughtful. And we are looking for a way to constructively move forward. I;m hopeful that we will be able to bring many more voices to the process.”

The sit-in was staged as a protest against the July 2 fatal shooting of a black man by a white police officer.

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