The Juneteenth celebrations were an opportunity for all of Asheville to celebrate the culture and strength of the black community. Vendors, food trucks, local artists and musicians came to honor their ancestors and to nurture community.

     As the Saturday evening celebrations came to a close, a shooting occurred between two individuals in Pack Square. We don’t have much information -only that there was a disagreement between 2 people. A disagreement.  

     In a country with lax gun laws, a broken healthcare system that does not prioritize mental health or substance abuse treatment, that provides tax cuts to the uber wealthy while burdening middle and low income citizens, where the wealth of non-white citizens was stripped through red lining and urban renewal, with the absence of family leave and paid time off laws, where a disproportionate number of black citizens are incarcerated, a disagreement turns into a shooting. 

     In a state where teachers are not valued with an appropriate salary, and schools unable to attend to real needs of kids, where voter ID laws will restrict the voices of so many, where the house recently passed a bill to limit the teaching of racial topics, that passed a discriminatory bathroom bill, with rising income inequality, a disagreement turns into a shooting. 

     In a city that is legislatively barred from raising the minimum wage, where NIMBYism restricts homeless services/housing, where tourism dollars do not support local infrastructure, a disagreement turns into a shooting. 

     In Asheville, NC and similar towns in the US of A, a disagreement turns into a shooting…over and over and over again.  

     Yes, I condemn the individuals involved for creating yet more trauma for our community. But there is tremendous responsibility to be taken by elected officials who continue to allow these disparities in this “evolved” society. 

     We demand attention to these important issues by our state and federally elected officials. We all want to drop our kids at the movie theatre or school, attend a festival in town, go to church, to the store, and live our lives free from the violence that policies have created.  

     A map has been layed out by Rev. Barber and the Poor People’s Campaign. Refer to this link to learn the policies to be advocated for to create equity and reduce violence. And get in touch if you’d like to be part of the solution here in Western North Carolina!