City spends thousands on racial study, hires “equity and inclusion” manager

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Photo credit: City of Asheville

NORTH CAROLINA – Asheville has announced its first equity and inclusion manager assigned to address racial disparity issues.

According to the Ashville Citizen Times, Kimberlee Archie was selected after conducting a nationwide search and beat out the other finalist, Alaysia Black Hacket, for the position.

Asheville’s equity initiative first began during a January 2016 retreat where council members discussed focusing on the areas of health, education, housing and economic mobility. Shortly after, the city paid a Denver firm to carry out a racial disparity study, which cost roughly $320,000. The study reportedly indicated a disproportionate number of black drivers being targeted for traffic stops, among other findings. (Scroll down for more.)

Also, during that time, the fatal police shooting of African-American resident Jerry Williams took place, which was later ruled by the courts as justified.

City officials stated that Archie will work alongside both internal and external partners, nonprofits, the public, and stakeholders to “establish the use of an equity lens in all city programs and policies.”

The sole purpose of her new role will be to identify institutional racism and provide more opportunities for minority groups.

Among her first tasks will be “city hiring and human resources, public engagement, public safety, and community and economic development,” said the release.

Archie, a higher education consultant from Charlotte, has an extensive background in facilitating workshops, teaching, and giving “presentations at conferences on inclusive public engagement, race and equity and related subjects,” the release noted.

“We are very excited to find an equity and inclusion manager who has such a passion for social equity,” said City Manager Gary Jackson. “Kimberlee Archie brings to the city of Asheville a demonstrated track record in accountability and facilitating opportunities for others to grow and develop.”

She is slated to start July 31 and her office will be in the City Hall. It was also disclosed that her annual salary will be $80,000.

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