Good: Asheville City Council
In last week’s issue, Thomasi McDonald wrote about the historical argument for reparations. Hours after we sent that story to press, the Asheville City Council voted 7-0 in favor of a plan that brings that long-ignored suggestion closer to reality for Black residents in the Western North Carolina city. The resolution acknowledges the city’s historic role in the enslavement and segregation of Black people and calls for a committee to make “recommendations that will make significant progress toward repairing the damage caused by public and private systemic Racism.” No checks are being written quite yet, but the resolution made national headlines as one of the first meaningful legislative moves toward reparations in the entire country.
Bad: School reopening plans
To be fair, there’s probably no way to create a truly “good” plan for reopening schools in the middle of a global pandemic. It’s encouraging to see districts like Durham Public Schools and Orange County Schools showing caution by preemptively planning for online learning to start the 2020-21 school year. Still, the number of unanswered questions about the fall makes us nervous. What happens if a teacher of an in-person class gets sick? How can we expect young children to adhere to social distancing guidelines in classrooms full of friends they haven’t seen in months? Should college students plan to return to campus at all in 2020? Again, this is a tough situation for education policymakers, but it’s not hard to see why enrollment at online schools like Wake County Virtual Academy has spiked recently.
Awful: Federal police in Portland
On Wednesday, federal law enforcement officers in Portland poured out of unmarked minivans, approached protesters, and arrested them without a stated cause. Ignoring the obvious fact those protesters had a right to peacefully protest under the First Amendment, the federal agents violated the very first article of the Constitution by making arrests without a stated cause. The protesters were later released, but the dystopian images of those arrests reverberated throughout the antiracist community nationwide. If a 1984-style police abduction in Oregon isn’t awful, the thought that federal agents could pull something similar at a protest here in the Triangle should be. The only bright spot is that antiracists have continued to demonstrate anyway, fearlessly marching everywhere from Garner to Wakefield in the days since the arrests.
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